- Published on Sunday, 31 July 2011 23:12
If your board is too big or buoyant to duck dive then you need to turtle roll your board.
The duck diving lesson is all well and good for surfers who ride shortboards, but what about those longboard lads and ladies out there? Hopefully you've found your way here before trying to duck dive your 12-foot board in 6-foot surf and taking a battering.
Duck diving relies on sinking the board nose first and going underneath the wave. Longboards are too buoyant to get away with this. The turtle roll (also know as an Eskimo roll) is the best way to get out to the lineup on a longboard.
Longboards in the Lineup
The guys over on the longboard forum were kind enough to put a few tips together on how to roll with style. Here's how you do it:
As the wave comes towards you
- Flip the board over with the board on top of you, fins facing upwards.
- Pull the board down towards you, grabbing hold of the board near the middle or even a little further back.
- Try to keep your body vertical in the water with the board overhead, letting your body act as a sea anchor.
- Hold on tightly to your rails as the force of the wave can easily yank the board out of your grip. (It's worthwhile waxing your rails where you usually hold on.)
- EITHER extend your arms above your head (You achieve maximum sea anchor effect but lose a little grip; better in smaller to medium waves.)
- OR pull the board down on to the head and keep pulling the board down hard. This gives a tremendously strong grip but is best done with a helmet as slight bruising can occur. There's often a slight jolt but not as bad as one might expect. This method also tends to lose a bit more distance.
- As the wave breaks over you, thrust the board forward ahead of you, punching it through the wave, the board pulling you after it.
- Once the wave has passed, flip the board back over and climb aboard, smiling to yourself after having pulled a perfect turtle roll.
As with surfing in general, it's not good form to let go of your board when faced with breaking waves; it may injure other water users. Also remember that you have to keep clear of surfers who are riding in on waves. It's your responsibility to keep out of the way, even if it means paddling into a wall of whitewater.
NEVER hold the board near the nose when rolling under; it's dangerous. Grabbing near the nose in this situation will almost guarantee a backwards cartwheel as the entire board gets launched.
NEVER wrap your legs around the board. What can happen is that with the body laying horizontally, it doesn't act as a sea anchor. The board and rider then accelerate towards the beach, the tail of the board digs in, and the board and rider then cartwheel backwards.
It's not easy, and like duck diving, it is really all about practicing. It's a lot harder to get a longboard through a wave than it is a shortboard. The bonus with a longboard is that you can paddle it in-between waves faster. There's a whole world of technique happening down there when rolling under, and some effective decision making is also required.