Apr 26, 2018

Duck Diving With ''The Tusked Beast''

Hi Paul,

I've been wanting to pass on some ways I use to roll waves. They're alternatives to duck diving, which I've never really figured out on a mat.  I'm sure lots of your readers might know them, but mat gremmies might appreciate the info. Getting out the back is extra challenging on a mat, so I hope these tips help (I made the usual dorky drawings).

The first is for rolling bigger whitewash (smaller ones you can duck dive or if you're slick and savvy, ride up like a ramp). I think of it as the mat version of turning turtle, and it works surprisingly well in quite big surf.

As the white water approaches, get off the mat. Turn your back to the wave, grasp the two back corners of the mat. Just before it's about to hit, let your body shoot straight down underwater, as far as you can go (you can do a little kick/arm pull to rise up briefly to try to penetrate deeper). Body as deep as you can go, facing the shore, arms extended to the surface, only the mat above water.
The wave will bend the mat flat (turtle) on the water's surface, and your straight body acts as an underwater anchor. You lose surprisingly little "ground". Again, it works in pretty big (whitewater) waves.


This image might better illustrate the described posture:


The other technique is probably totally obvious, but what the heck. This works well for punching through a pitching wave, and I'll choose it over a duck dive every time. It's just rolling off the side of the mat, grabbing one front corner with one hand, and swimming through the lip, pulling the mat through, sharply, behind you.

I think you recounted GG describing it in your "Inflatable Dreams" article, about ripping the corner off a Hodgman at Sunset Beach. This method just works well in a lot of situations; possibly even better than punching through with a hard surfboard. Plus you can enjoy the view of the curling lip.

Best wishes and happy rollings,


PS:  Next time, I'll attempt to diagram alternate tonguing while blowing up your mat :)


harmless neighborhood eccentric said...

These drawings make me very happy

Rob Pollard said...

Love the tips! I use the first one as my primary means of getting outside with great success. Beautiful Drawings! Keep Spreading the Stoke! Yeeeewwwwwwww!

Geoffrey Levens said...

I think definite "gold" for newbies!

PVC's Blog said...

Hey Jonathan.. great insight into one of the many ways to duck dive a mat.. or just make it through the big white fluffy steam roller heading your way.. We SCUMbags have a good variety of places and conditions to slide our lives away.. and over the years have resigned to the fact that there is only one method that this little black duck has found works for me..

I did use your described approach to it in Sumatra a few years back on a wave affectionately known as Way Jambu or Sumatran Pipeline.. And in them heavy pitching condition I thought my arm was going to disconnect from my body.. wrenched the shoulder good and proper hanging on to the mat.. thats my experience.. my preferred method these days is to bear hug the crap out of it.. you have one advantage with this.. your cuddling a bag of air and pop straight up. . still attached to the mat.. just saying .. haha ..

keep sharing the stake bro..

Cheers Oily.

tuskedbeast said...

Hi Oily,

Ouch. Let's provisionally cross off the pull-through on any break with the word "Pipeline" in the name :)

And you're right about the buoyancy of a mat being the yin to the broke-wing yang of the conventional mat duckdive. The big advantage to the Moses Solution is that you might not get dragged as bad.

I do remember on the biggest session of my mat career getting caught inside by a true sneaker rogue bomb mutant 9th wave tsunami whatever- a double overhead+ black water wall, and smack dab in the impact zone. I'd never felt the need to bear-hug a mat before but this time my adrenalized reflexes did just that, pure instinctive reptile fear. And it friggen worked. It's a nice feeling to survive situations like that without a leash.