How to Perform the Perfect Spearfishing Duck Dive

How to Perform the Perfect Spearfishing Duck Dive

Performing a perfect, well executed Duck Dive is something often overlooked by novice and experienced Spearos alike. Most people just want to get into the water and catch fish, and won’t think too much about technique and performance. However, this mind set fails to recognise that actual dive itself can have a big impact on the number of fish you’ll see once you hit the bottom. In this article we’re going to look at how to Duck Dive correctly, and it’s importance.

Spearfisherman Duck Diving
Photo: Apnea Passion

Positioning Before the Duck Dive:

Before you can Duck Dive and begin your decent to the bottom, you need to make sure you’re in the right position first. For Spearos you’re likely already going to be positioned correctly already. But for simplicity, the correct position is to be faced down lying flat in the water, snorkel in your mouth breathing calmly. You’ll likely find that there will be a current forcing you to fin to keep yourself in position. If the current is so strong that you find it hard to maintain your position, or you’re struggling to breathe up properly, consider moving.

Duck Dive Step by Step:

Step 1 – Pre-Equalisation and Snorkel:

After completing your breathe up, remove your Snorkel from your mouth and perform an equalisation. This act of equalising on the surface is often called ‘Pre-Equalisation’. Most people will first equalise a few metres below the surface when they feel the pressure start to build on their eardrums. By performing a pre-equalisation, your eardrums are already inflated by the time you leave the surface. This allows you to dive more comfortably through the first few meters, as the pressure changes are most significant within the first 10 meters of water from the surface. It also means you won’t have to equalise again until you’re approximately 5 meters down.

Step 2 – Arms Down at 90 Degrees:

The second step is to point your arms out in front of you on the surface. Then, dive forwards only bending your body at the hips to create a right angle between your upper and lower body. Complete this movement with confidence, using the muscles in your core to control the movement. For us Spearos we will have a Speargun in one of those hands. And maybe even your float line and anchor in the other. Within this in mind, it may be less energy consuming to already have your arm with the Speargun pointing at a 90 degree angle to your lower body. At this point you have already taken your last breathe and removed your snorkel. So the less energy you can expend the better.

Step 3 – Legs:

The third step is to raise your legs out of the water until in line with the rest of your body. This combined with the bend of the upper body will naturally create the momentum needed to start to descent. Many Spearos have adapted this technique to only encompass one leg to create less disturbance in the water. This is more difficult to produce a natural Duck Dive as your body isn’t streamlined, but with the addition of the weight you’ll be carrying the effect is counterbalanced. Overall, either technique is fine as long as you have executed the prior steps correctly.

Step 4 – Pull with Arms and Equalise:

When your legs are vertical and in line with the rest of your body, bring your arms back in a breast stroke movement. Within the same movement, naturally bring one of your hands to your nose ready to equalise. Again, as you will have a Speargun in one hand, perform the breaststroke with your free hand. Similarly to only using one leg, using only one arm came prove more difficult. However, the weight of your weight belt should counteract this.

Be careful not to perform the breaststroke action before your feet are submerged. If you’re finding that this is the case and you cannot descend without doing so, your bend at Step 2 is likely too weak.

Step 5 – Finning:

Once you have completed the breaststroke and equalisation, you can start finning. At this point if all of the previous stages have been completed correctly in a timely manner, you will find that your fins are completely submerged. Make sure that your finning is strong and consistent especially in the first few meters of the dive. This is to counteract the strong buoyancy of your body and wetsuit and to not diminish the effect of your Duck Dive.

Importance of Correct Duck Dive Technique:

As a Spearo, you’re going to want to get the most out of your dives to get the best catch. And the first step in achieving this should be to perfect your Duck Dive. There are two main reasons why both novice and seasoned Spearos alike should strive for the perfect Duck Dive. Here they are below:

  • Water Disturbance – Creating as little impact on the environment is the corner stone of a solid Spearfishing technique. Simple things such as a sudden head twitch could be the difference between catching something for dinner and not. By perfecting your Duck Dive technique, you are enabling your descent to be as efficient and quiet as possible. A poor Duck Dive will create excess noise and vibrations in the water, which will immediately set all the fish below on alert. So by not working on your Duck Dive technique, all you’re really doing is decreasing your chances of catching fish. Especially the bigger ones!
  • Energy Efficiency – By conducting a correct Duck Dive, you are expending far less energy. The Duck Dive technique utilises the natural propulsion of your bodies movement to counteract buoyancy. With the added advantaged of being weighted, aiding you with the difficulties of carrying a Speargun. Just by completing this simple sequence of movements at the correct times you can give yourself more bottom time to scout for fish and good terrain.
Spearfisherman descending from surface
Photo: Brian Feulner / Special to The Chronicle

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