Surfing In Punta Mita, Mexico? When To Turtle Roll And When To Duck Dive

Surfing in Punta mita
Learning duck dives and turtle rolls are a great way to progress your surfing in Punta Mita

Do You Know When To Use The Duck Dive Or When To Turtle Roll While Surfing?

When you start learning to surf in Punta Mita, Sayulita, or anywhere else for that matter – you’ll start to realize how important these gnarly maneuvers are when it comes to progressing your abilities, looking like you know what you’re doing, staying safe in the water, and ultimately, having an outstanding surfing experience. Yet, before you start onboarding these techniques, let’s get some valuable insights into these two significant terms, plus how and when would be best to use them!

Let’s dive in! 😉

What is a Turtle Roll?

Try the turtle roll while learning to surf in Mexico

The Turtle Roll, also known as the Eskimo roll, is an amazing way to get past a larger or breaking wave using a foam board, longboard, or any other board with too much volume to dive the board under the wave. When you start learning to surf in Punta Mita, you may encounter larger sets and powerful waves that require this technique. To get through white walls and bigger sets with your foamie or a longboard, you would make a turtle roll. If you choose to sign up for our beginner's surf camp in Punta Mita or Sayulita, the turtle roll is one of the techniques you’ll learn!

What is a Duck Dive?

Surfing for Beginners Punta Mita comes with duck dive and turtle roll opportunities!

To break through tall or powerful waves with a short board, most intermediate-advanced surfers use the duck dive technique. As the name depicts, it is a trick to exert your force to take your shortboard under the deep water against oncoming or striking waves, to pass through without being set back or struck by the wave. The duck dive technique is useful for lining yourself up whenever you see a large wave coming your way. If you choose to sign up for our intermediate surf camp in Punta Mita or Sayulita, the duck dive is one of the techniques you’ll learn!

When Should You Turtle Roll While Learning to Surf in Mexico?

While surfing in Punta Mita and Sayulita out on your longboard or foamie, you’ll find that larger oncoming waves and white water will try to push you back in the direction of the shore. Whenever you find yourself stuck in such a situation, always choose to make a turtle roll to keep control of your board while maintaining your position and direction out the back. The specific time for the turtle roll is just before the wave is passing or breaking in front of you (1 meter away). The turtle roll is a must when a powerful wave is coming your way, however, we recommended to stop practicing your turtle roll if the water level is very shallow as you could injure yourself and/or damage your board.

When Should You Duck Dive?

Whenever a large or powerful wave makes it difficult to reach the lineup while surfing in Punta Mita or Sayulita, it's the time to make a duck dive. The duck dive always helps to get past the largest waves to safely and successfully reach the lineup. The best thing about the duck dive is that it saves you time and energy paddling out and will also help you reach that *magic spot* efficiently. The duck dive sure takes practice, yet is performed successfully when the distance between you and the wave is at least 2 meters.

Surfing in Punta de Mita is

IS a blast for surfers of all levels and abilities, with breaks to suit all skills

How Do You Turtle Roll When Learning to Surf in Punta Mita?

Learning the turtle rolls during surfing in Punta Mita

The duck dive is a technique to sink your board underwater for a few seconds to beat the powerful waves and reach the lineup safely. Here, let’s look into a detailed and proper way to help you achieve the duck dive successfully.

Before you dive into the water to avoid incoming waves, make a few stronger strokes in the same straight direction. This will help you in building momentum that would ultimately allow you to dive deep into the water and pass through larger sets to not get set back.

Extend your arms and push down on the rails of your board to allow your surfboard to submerge in the deep water. In this way, you would get more stability and hold. Before the wave hits you, you’ll push yourself into a prone cobra pose. From there, put pressure on the board and dip your head and shoulders downward under the water. Imagine that you want to sink yourself right under the wave.

Now, push on the tail with your foot or your knee to bring the tail down so that the whole surfboard can be underwater to prevent being dragged towards the beach.

Next, bring your body close to the board so you can maintain more depth. Relax and let yourself come back up to the surface naturally. Once you’ve broken the surface, paddle toward the next wave.

Want to learn this technique step by step in the water with our professional surf coaches? Check out the details of our surf camps in Punta Mita and Sayulita here.

Common Mistakes in Duck Diving

Here are a few common mistakes that you can avoid while practicing your duck dive.

  • Trying to dive deep in shallow water. This is a big no-no. If you do so, you may get injured by hitting your body/head at the bottom surface and/or end up damaging your board.
  • When you dive deep in deep water, don’t rush to come up. Instead, follow the flow and let yourself raise naturally for a successful maneuver.
  • Try not to close your eyes while duck diving. Keeping your eyes open will help you keep in the right direction and protect you from hitting anything oncoming.
  • Avoid trying to make duck dives with longboards or boards with too much volume. It’s just not possible! Always use a shortboard for making duck dives.


Learning how to duck dive at our Sayulita surf camp would make your surfing in Sayulita something to remember!

Before you start practicing these maneuvers, make sure to choose the appropriate surfboard first. Remember, a longboard with greater volume is the most appropriate for making turtle rolls, while a shortboard is best for diving deep under the water with the duck dive!
Learning to surf in Mexico? Or, local to us and want to try out our selection of 300+ surfboards? Drop into our surfboard rental in Punta Mita or Sayulita (see map) or browse our prices online here.
Whichever maneuver you choose is best for you, make sure to practice, practice, practice! The more you practice these techniques, the better you’ll become at them!

Think you’d like some extra assistance? Hurry up and book a surf camp in Sayulita or Punta Mita with us today! Our expert surf coaches and wave lovers alike are waiting to help you improve your surfing abilities and help fine-tune your advanced techniques and maneuvers, for higher-quality surf sessions and greater fun. Contact us here for more details on availability, prices, and packages or to simply book your beginner/intermediate/advanced surf camp with a member of our knowledgeable WildMex team!

Until next time,

Peace & Love!