Young male surfer dives under the broken wave with his surfboard

The Art of Duck Diving and Turtle Rolling

Surfing is not just about riding the waves; it's also about manoeuvring through them. Two key techniques that every surfer must master to navigate through the powerful surf are duck diving and turtle rolling. These techniques allow surfers to overcome the force of breaking waves and maintain control of their surfboard. In this article, we delve into the art of duck diving and turtle rolling, exploring their mechanics, benefits, and how to execute them effectively.

Duck Diving

Duck diving is a fundamental technique used by surfers to pass under an incoming wave with their board. This technique is especially useful in larger, more powerful waves, where paddling straight over the wave may prove ineffective or result in being caught in the wave's impact zone. Here's a step-by-step guide to mastering the art of duck diving:

Timing and Approach

As a wave approaches, paddle towards it with enough speed to match its momentum. Timing is crucial; you want to start your duck dive just before the wave reaches you.

Angling the Board

As the wave approaches, grab the rails (sides) of your board near the nose and push down, sinking the front half of the board underwater. Simultaneously, shift your weight towards the front foot to assist in submerging the nose.

Utilising Your Body

To maintain control and stability, extend your arms, placing the majority of your weight on your hands and chest. Arch your back slightly to create downward pressure. As the wave passes over, push against the water to keep the board submerged.

Timing the Resurface

Once the wave has passed, release the pressure and allow the board to resurface smoothly. Regain your balance and continue paddling to the lineup.

Turtle Rolling

Surfer performs trick named Turtle Roll to pass the breaking wave. Extreme sport concept

Turtle rolling, also known as Eskimo rolling, is an alternative technique employed in situations where duck diving is impractical or when using a larger board. This technique is commonly used in longboarding or when surfing on a board with excessive buoyancy. Here's a breakdown of the turtle rolling technique:

Spotting the Wave

Before the wave reaches you, identify its breaking point. Position yourself just in front of it.

Board Positioning

With your hands on the rails of the board, flip the board upside down. Your body will be positioned underneath, with your feet facing the wave.

Submerging the Board

As the wave approaches, use your hands to push the board downwards, submerging it beneath the wave. Keep your body tight against the board to minimise resistance.

Rolling and Resurfacing

As the wave rolls over you, roll your body with the board, allowing it to pass over you smoothly. Maintain a tight grip on the board's rails and be prepared to resurface on the other side of the wave.

Benefits of Duck Diving and Turtle Rolling

Maintaining Control: These techniques allow surfers to retain control over their boards, preventing the wave from pushing them back towards the shore or into the impact zone.

Energy Conservation: By efficiently manoeuvring through waves, surfers conserve their energy, enabling them to catch more waves and enjoy longer sessions.

Safety: Proper execution of these techniques reduces the risk of collisions with other surfers and minimises the chance of injuries caused by impact with waves.

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The art of duck diving and turtle rolling is essential for every surfer looking to navigate through breaking waves effectively. By mastering these techniques, surfers can maintain control, conserve energy, and enhance their safety in the lineup. Remember, practice makes perfect, so spend time honing these skills in various wave conditions, gradually improving your ability to smoothly duck dive or turtle roll. With dedication and perseverance, you'll become a skilled wave navigator, ready to take on any surf break with confidence.

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