How to Turtle Roll

You’re riding a longboard or softboard and paddling out is exhausting you – you can’t get under the waves and shortboarders breeze past you by ducking straight under the waves.

If you’re riding a longboard, this manoeuvre – the ‘duck dive’, won’t work.

Longboards are thick and more buoyant than shortboards so duck diving under the waves is not possible, instead there is a simple method that will get you past the break easier – this method is called by some, the ‘turtle roll’.

As the name suggests, you will ‘roll’ your board to avoid the pressure of the breaking wave.

It looks a little like this:


As you can see in the image, the longboarder has rolled upside down to avoid the pressure of the wave. By doing this it will also prevent the surfer on the wave from crashing into him, as the long boarder ins't standing holding his board in the impact zone.


How to turtle roll:

1. Paddle towards the breaking wave and stabilise your board by gripping the rails just above your shoulders. (Waxing the rails will help you hold on if you find this difficult.)

2. Ensure your  nose is pointing slightly downwards. If it is pointing upwards it is likely to catch the pressure of the wave and be pushed backwa rds.

3. Hold on tight!

4. As the wave approaches, roll the board above you with the fins upwards. You should be lying with your body upside down, holding tightly on the rails. The closer the board is to your body, the easier it will be.

How to duck dive

5. Let the ocean toss you around a bit– don’t panic – you will feel the surge of the wave above you but as it disperses you will be paddling again!

6. Flip it! With one side of your body you will can flip the board over and continue paddling out to the lineup.


If your board is bulky you can easily practice this technique in flat water to perfect it for the waves!  
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