My friend Colin’s piece on migraines and the artwork of Renee French contains a reference to duck diving, along with a helpful link to this here blog.
So for those of you who clicked on the link, and for the rest of you, too, duck diving is a technique surfers use to get their shortboards under a breaking (or more likely already broken) wave. (Longboarders have to figure out another way.)
Anyhow, it works like this:
1. Paddle toward the broken wave, speed is your friend.
2. When you’re a few feet away, about to be run over by the whitewash, push down firmly on the front 1/3 of your board, so it’s now pointing down, headed underwater.
3. Push down on the tail of the board with your knee or foot. So the board is flat, and then pointing up again.
4. While this is happening, calmly let the wave pass over you.
5. Let the board’s flotation bring you to the surface again.
Seems easy enough, right? It takes a lot of practice. And timing, timing, timing.
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as thinking you’re about to get crushed by a wave breaking just outside of where you are and then exiting out the back with a clean duck dive, especially if surfers to the right and left are spinning in circles or trying to retrieve bailed boards.
Back to Colin’s article. In his metaphor, the wave is a migraine, and he duck dives it.
Not bad for a non-surfer.
Except that I associate duck diving (in, say, 53 degree water) with some of the worst headaches I’ve ever had the displeasure of experiencing.