How to Push Through Waves: The Right Way To Do It


The push through technique, also often referred to as the punch through technique, allows you to get past a broken wave and at the same time, reaching the lineup without needing to turtle roll or duck dive. It is an optimal method that will allow you to get past a small wave, especially when riding a bigger surfboard. The way it works is that it uses the flotation and the speed provided by the surfboard to be able to drive yourself through the wave, rather than under it.

In this post, we will be discussing everything that you need to know to perform this very useful maneuver in surfing. With the added challenge of getting out the back using a bigger surfboard, this technique eliminates the need to get into the water for you to survive an upcoming wave. If you’re curious about what to do, then let’s get on with the discussions.

How to Push Through Waves

When practicing the push through or the punch through technique, all that you need to do is to paddle harder towards the whitewater. Then, utilizing your subtle yet technical push-up maneuver, you’ll be able to quickly and effortlessly ‘push through’ the wave. Keep in mind that this technique is best done in flat water areas, which is also perpendicular to the approaching wave. While this would require you a lot of practice, here’s what you can do to practice as you approach a rolling wave:

  • When there’s a broken wave in sight, try paddling towards it.
  • As you paddle, remember to keep your legs together.
  • While keeping your legs together, place both of your toes on the surfboard’s tail.
  • Then, try grabbing the rails using both your hands, just near the pectorals.
  • This is the part where you need to apply your push-up skill. Do a slight push-up then arch your back.
  • Then, go with the flow and allow the wave to roll on the top portion of your surfboard.
  • To maintain the momentum, continue your out-the-back paddling.

Keep in mind that everything will be a lot easier when you’re carrying enough speed. With this, we don’t advise that you stop and just wait for the whitewater wave to reach you. Doing so would only make you lose your balance and eventually fall off the surfboard’s side. If you find that the wave may be too strong or too big, there’s a chance that you won’t be able to push through it. However, it may still depend on the surfboard you’re using, whether you’re going to need to perform the classic duck dive or the turtle roll.

What Are the Different Push Through Techniques?

Once you’re paddling out, the most important that thing that you need to deal with is the breaking surf. With this, you might want to avoid the wave’s initial impact, as it’s the most powerful part of the whitewater wave. Even when you’re confident, there still might be a chance that you’ll be fighting against broken waves. After all, it can be such a frustration, especially if you don’t have a push through technique in place. You might also end up spending more time making up for the lost ground instead of riding the waves. Here are some of the techniques you might want to incorporate in your training:

1. Push-up

The push-up method would be best, especially when approaching smaller waves. However, you must gather a lot of paddling momentum. Then, as you approach the broken wave, push up so that the wave rolls on top of your surfboard and just beneath your chest. Remember to head directly into the wave. On the other hand, when you’re sideways or angled, the wave would only knock you off the surfboard.

2. Duck Dive

When you see that the surf is a little too powerful, the best thing for you to do is to go under the broken wave. The duck dive is considered a very common technique and can be beneficial for you if you surf from two to 10 feet. To be able to perform this maneuver properly, you need to paddle toward the broken wave using maximum speed.

Before you encounter the impact, try grabbing the board’s rails using your hands and then push the nose of the surfboard underwater. Then, press the tail of the board using your dominant foot, which would effectively guide your board against the turbulence. This motion, when paired with the tail’s weight, allows you to pop back up after the broken wave gets past you. However, keep in mind that a beginner board might be too buoyant to be able to perform a proper duck dive. Besides, using a lightweight and small board wouldn’t guarantee that you’ll the trick a lot faster.

3. Turtle Roll

In case you have a board that’s too big and buoyant to press underwater, then you might want to consider doing the turtle roll technique instead. As you approach the wave, you only need to grab the rails well ahead of the shoulders. Before the impact, you must be able to turn your board over so that it sits on the wave’s surface, with the fins on the upward position.

While you’re beneath the surfboard, a frog kick is likely to propel you against the broken wave. Once the wave gets past you, try rolling right side up. Doing so allows you to defend yourself against an upcoming loose board or a delinquent surfer. When you so one coming your way, do the turtle position and roll yourself away from the hazard.

Whatever method you end up doing, keep in mind that it’s bad surfing etiquette to just leave your surfboard unattended, especially when other surfers are around you. To add, the surfer who’s up and riding always has the way. Once the surfer has established a direction, everyone is obliged to move in the opposite direction, even when it would require you to paddle against the breaking wave and getting impacted with whitewater. To be able to avoid these violations, you might want to master the push through technique before you begin surfing in crowds.


Now that we’ve reached the end of the discussions, it’s not time to put this learning to the test. We admit that it won’t be an easy skill to perfect but with constant practice, we trust that you will be able to do it no time. If in doubt, you just need to refer to this guide to determine which technique works best for you and your surfboard.

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