It's summer time, waves are warmer, your surf holiday in the sun is finally happening and you have your surfboard under your arm.  It's time to go out into the water, and work on catching some better waves.  Essential to feeling safer in the water and putting yourself in the best spot is duck diving.  If you've not heard the expression before, it's when you physically sink your surfboard under an oncoming breaking wave in order to avoid being swept up in the wave, and so stay on track for paddling into the line up.  It takes some practice, but there are some techniques that can help to perfect it...
  • 1- Strength Training
Although a lot of the duck dive is about body positioning, it never hurts to build upper body strength.  Work on your arms, back and shoulders as you'll need this to help push yourself into the right position to sink your board into the water.
  • 2- Board Type
Depending on the type of board you have, you will need to adjust how you duck dive.  Shortboards are perfect for duck diving, as there isn't a lot of board to sink, and they are light weight so easy to maneuver.  However, longboards are a different beast entirely, as they are so buoyant.  It is often better to eskimo roll longboards if you can't paddle over the wave.
  • 3- Positioning

When faced with an approaching wave that is breaking into white water, start to move to the front of your board.  Get ready to sink the front of your board as deeply as you can when the wave is about 2 metres away.
  • 4- Push Down
The actual push down needs to happen just before the wave sweeps over you, as ideally you'll be under all the white water as it passes overhead.  The deeper you sink the board the better, however if you are in shallow water, be careful of where you place your hands, as you don't want to push you fingers into the seabed or reef.

NOTE: one of the most important things to do at this stage is to remember to keep your eyes open when you dive under. It will make it much easier.   
  • 5- Knee and Leg

The secret to the perfect duck dive is about you knee and leg.  Using your knee to sink the board further after your initial push down will help, but if you can use your foot on the foot pad to sink it deeper, and throw your other leg into the air to sink more, you will be able to full submerse your board.  Then it's just a matter of allowing your board to propel you to the surface- easy.  

For more help and techniques, going on learn to surf holidays is one of the best ways to develop your surfing and duck diving.  Good luck and enjoy!