For many of us, the ocean is a place of wonder and awe. We never really stop to consider all the activities happening below its surface, until we hit the beach with our surfboards.
Surfers love gliding over waves in order to enjoy some time on their boards and soak up the sun’s rays.
But what few people know is that sometimes surfers must go under a wave, too – either by accident or intentionally. So why do they do it?
Here we’ll dig into this mysterious phenomenon behind wave riding and how it might help determine which direction you take your next session! Read on to find out more!
Quick Answer: Surfers dive under the wave when they sense that it is about to break and is not suitable for riding. The technique enables the wave to pass over them, safeguarding their surfboard from being tossed around by the force of the wave. This helps them evade getting hit by their own board or by other surfers in the water.
Why Do Surfers Go Under A Wave?
Surfing is a sport of balance, speed and agility, and a surfer can never be too careful when they hit the waves. Sometimes, waves can be too big or too powerful, which can be dangerous for surfers.
It’s for this reason that surfers must know how to go under waves, a technique that not only makes them safe but also helps them get back up on the board quickly. However, delve into the reasons why surfers go under waves.
One of the main reasons surfers go under waves is for safety purposes.
When a wave is too big or too powerful, the safest way to avoid getting hit is by diving underneath it. The technique used to go under a wave is called a duck dive.
This happens when surfers dive under the wave using their board to help them get deep enough so that they do not get pulled back towards the shore.
Another reason surfers go under waves is because of the current. When surfing, a surfer may encounter a strong current that could pull them out of position.
Going under the wave using a duck dive helps surfers navigate the current as they can quickly get back into position and catch the next wave.
Surfers also go under waves because of wave sets.
A wave set refers to the consecutive waves that break at the same location, and there can be up to ten waves in a set.
Surfers must go under these sets of waves to conserve energy as it’s easier to go under the water than to go over the waves.
It’s also a lot safer to go under a wave set than to try to stay on the surface.
When a surfer is paddling out to the lineup, they may encounter waves that they have to go under.
Going under the wave allows the surfer to negotiate any big or powerful waves, saving energy and quickly getting back on the board to continue the paddle out.
Surfers also go under waves to have better control of their boards.
When surfers attempt to go over a wave, there is a chance that their board could get away from them due to the wave’s force.
Going under the wave allows the surfer to maintain control of their board, and when they emerge on the other side, they can easily get back on their board.
Best way to go under a wave:
There’s nothing more uncomfortable than getting pummeled by a wave.
It can be a scary experience and can make you feel disoriented. The best way to tackle this problem is to learn how to go under the wave.
There are ways to go under a wave and emerge from the other side with a sense of confidence and accomplishment.
This is the most common way to go under a wave.
First, paddle towards the wave and just before it’s about to hit you, push down on the tail of your board and dive under the water.
Your momentum will help you go through the wave quickly. Come up for air when you’ve passed the wave.
This technique is suitable when you have a long foam wave coming towards you.
First, roll over the board and grab the rails on either side with your hands. Then, dive under the wave, pulling the board with you.
As the wave passes, come up and get back on your board.
This technique is also known as the “Rolling Turtle.” It’s useful when a large wave is about to break, and you don’t think you can duck dive it.
Flip over the board and use your arm as a brake while pushing the rear of the board through the wave.
Emergency duck dive:
This technique is used when a larger-than-expected wave is coming towards you.
First, grab the nose of your board and push it down as hard as possible. Paddle forward to help the board get through the wave.
Come up for air once the wave passes.
This dive requires strength and technique. As the wave approaches, you need to grab the board’s nose and dig deep into the water with your body.
Push down hard, then let the wave pass over you. Surface dive is more appropriate when you’re surfing in shallow water with a sandy bottom.
This is a relatively new technique, and it’s effective when you’re surfing with a thruster fin setup.
When the wave approaches, tilt your board to the side and press down hard on the fin closest to the wave.
This forces the board under the water and helps you go under the wave.
This technique is used in hollow waves with a strong lip. When the wave is about to hit you, grab the rails, put your feet together, and arch your back.
This creates an upside-down umbrella shape that helps keep you submerged underwater as the wave passes.
The Duck Dive SUP:
This technique is used when you’re on a stand-up paddle board. As the wave approaches, paddle towards it as fast as possible.
Then, put your hands on the board’s rails, and push it down into the water. Jump forward off the board as it dives under the wave, then resurface on the other side.
The Push Through:
This technique is useful when the wave is small, and you don’t want to lose your momentum.
Push your board forward against the whitewater with your hands, and it will lift the board up and over the wave. This method is not recommended for larger waves.
The Backwards Dive:
This technique is rarely used but can be beneficial. Paddle backwards towards the wave, then lean back on your board as hard as possible.
Let the wave pass over you as you go backwards. When the wave passes, turn around and start again.
How do you stay safe when surfing in big waves?
Surfing in big waves can be an incredible experience, but safety should always be a top priority.
❇ Wear the proper safety gear, including a wetsuit, booties, and a helmet.
❇ Be aware of your surroundings and watch for other surfers.
❇ Don take risks you aren’t prepared to handle. If the waves are too big or dangerous, stay on shore.
❇ Know your limits and don’t overextend yourself.
❇ Learn how to recognize a rip current and avoid it by swimming parallel to the shore.
❇ If you get into trouble, stay calm and signal for help.
❇ Don’t go surfing alone—bring at least one friend with you so they can help if needed.
❇ Take regular breaks to rest and regain energy.
❇ Always check the weather conditions before you hit the waves.
❇ Be conscious of how your actions affect other surfers in the water. Respect their space and give them plenty of room to maneuver.
What should you do if you get held under by a wave?
If you get held under by a wave, stay relaxed and try to conserve your energy.
Do not fight the current—instead, wait for the wave to pass and use the momentum to help you come back up.
If you cannot break through the surface, swim parallel to the shore until you can take a breath.
While underwater, keep your eyes open for any oncoming waves. When you reach the surface, get away from the breaking waves and head for shore.
As soon as possible, call for help or alert a lifeguard if one is nearby. Stay calm and keep your head above water until assistance arrives.
The truth is, no matter why you surf, the joy of riding a wave is an experience like no other.
The feeling of gliding on the ocean surface, combined with the thrill of riding beneath a breaking wave, is incomparable. So if being under that wave gives you a unique perspective and an adrenaline rush that keeps you going back for more – who are we to argue?
Just make sure you go out there not just with the right safety gear but also know-how to protect yourself while out in the open water.
Whether it’s knowing when and how to slip beneath those waves or simply keeping close tabs on your body’s limits in order to prevent overexertion staying safe will ensure your mission for optimal fun and adventure every single time.
As such, let us each find our own blissful wave beneath whatever draws us into its depths.
Is it safe to surf in big waves?
Yes, but you must wear the proper safety gear and be aware of your surroundings. Be sure to know your limits and don’t take any unnecessary risks.
Do surfers go under the wave?
Yes, some surfers choose to go under the wave in order to avoid losing momentum. This technique requires skill and experience, so it is not recommended for beginners or anyone unfamiliar with the ocean’s power.
Should you dive under a wave?
It depends on the size and power of the wave. This technique should only be attempted by experienced surfers who are comfortable with their ability to maneuver underwater. Always check the conditions before attempting this move.
What is it called when a surfer dives under a wave?
This maneuver is called “ducking” or “going over the falls”. This technique requires skill and experience, so it is not recommended for beginners or anyone unfamiliar with the ocean’s power.
What is surfers biggest fear?
Surfers’ biggest fear is being held under by a large wave and not being able to get back to the surface. To prevent this, it is important to wear the proper safety gear, watch for other surfers in the water, be aware of your surroundings, and know your limits.