How to Turtle Roll your Longboard (Eskimo Roll)

Since we were talking about how to duck dive earlier today, seems like we should also cover the turtle roll.  (Turtle roll is also called an Eskimo roll.  Thanks, Mike!) When the board is too big or too buoyant to duck dive, the turtle roll is a decent alternative (and a bit easier to pull off).  So, here we go:

  1. Prepare: Just like with duck diving, keep your momentum going forward.  Paddle your longboard and keep an eye on the approaching wave.
  2. Roll: A moment or two before the wave envelopes you, take a deep breath, grab the rails nearer the nose and roll the board over so the fins are pointing to the sky and you are underneath the board.
  3. Cling: Grip the board tightly and pull the nose down while the wave passes over you.  Your board’s rocker is curved opposite of the curling wave so they will push against each other.

    Two things to be especially aware of while the wave is passing over you. First, your head will be tilted back, so let bubbles come out of your nose to prevent salt water from rushing into your brain. Second, the wave will be pushing down on you and in the bigger waves, this can be significant.  Don’t let the board bonk into your head.  A good way of preventing this is while you are gripping the nose, fold your elbow inward between you and the board.  This will provide a cushion to absorb the energy of the wave pushing down and keep the board away from your face.

    Two options with as to what to do with your legs.  Some people like to wrap them around the board for extra clinging power, which works great, especially when it’s extra strong.  Others like to propel them selves with swimming kicks to help pass under the waves.  Both are valid and useful.  Turtler’s choice.

  4. Resume: Roll back over and continue paddling on.  Sometimes this can be the most difficult part.  With practice, much like popping up, the roll-over-to-paddle can be done in one graceful move.  But this will take some practice.  The good news is that the wave will have passed and you will have time to right yourself (unless the wave period is extremely short).

See Mike’s comment below for video sample.

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