If you are an avid surfer, then you will have heard of the infamous turtle roll. A turtle roll is also referred to as the Eskimo roll, and is used to get past tough, breaking waves without having to discard the surfboard or duck dive.
This trick looks turtley awesome when executed correctly, so why not give it a try yourself? It’s the perfect way to break through oncoming waves, and get to the other side with ease. So, how do you do it?
Learning how to turtle roll is a valuable skill all surfers should have. It is the best way to protect yourself when paddling out if you come across some huge walls of whitewater. To do a turtle roll, you will have to hit the wave head on, and flip your board until you are underneath it and hanging on like a little turtle.
To turtle roll on a surfboard, you will need to be at a 90 degree angle to the wave, and exactly perpendicular to it. As the wave approaches, but before it hits you, you will need to grab the sides of the board, but keep your elbows bent.
This will give you enough grip but will also let the wave roll over you and the board. If you keep your arms outstretched, you will probably end up being tossed under the water with something we call the washing machine.
So, as the wave approaches, grab the rails of your board, and position your hands tight to your chest, holding just underneath the shoulders.
Then, as the wave gets about 6 feet away from you, take a big, deep breath, flip and roll over the board, keeping the elbows bent and the board tight to you. Stay in this position until the wave passes over your body, holding the board as close to you as possible.
After the wave has passed, roll back up on top of your board, by flipping it over again. Then, get back on your board, and start paddling out over the waves. Take a little breather, and prepare to do it again when the next wave hits.
When to turtle roll
The best time to perform a turtle roll is when you see the wave approaching, and it is about 2 meters or 6 feet away from you. When the wave hits this point, get ready to execute the turtle roll. If the wave coming towards you is a white water wave, or a wave breaking, then you will need to grab the board and become the turtle!
Just make sure that you are ready and in position, gripping the board long before the wave gets to you. If you try to go under the water just as the wave hits, then the roll may not work, and you could be tossed around under the waves, and you could lose your board.
For the best results, wait until the wave is about 6 feet away, and take a big, deep breath, and flip the board. Just hang loose under waves, until they pass over you, and flip back over.
Can you turtle roll on a longboard?
Yes, you can turtle roll with a longboard. Longboards can actually be a little easier for some surfers to learn how to turtle roll as they provide a lot of floatation and buoyancy.
Turtle rolls are actually the best way to get through big waves with a longboard, as you cannot duck dive with a longboard, as they are hard to sink through the waves. However, due to the size of the board, turtle rolling can be a little different with a longboard. So, how do you turtle roll on a longboard?
How to turtle roll on a longboard
With the longboard, wait until the wave is coming towards you, and face the wave head on. Then, flip the board over, and keep the board on top of you, fins facing up. Next, pull the board closer and down towards you, grasping it in the middle or further back a little bit.
Keep your body vertical in the water, with the longboard resting overhead, as you will be able to use your body as the sea anchor. When in this position, hold tightly to the rails of your board as the force of the wave can separate you from the board.
For smaller or medium waves, you can extend your arms above your head for a maximum sea anchor effect, but sometimes this can cause you to lose grip, so do not do this for bigger waves. Once the wave has broken over you, throw the board ahead of you, and it will pull you through, and you can flip back over and climb back on board!
How to turtle roll big waves
Turtle rolling is actually highly effective for big waves and big surf, but it does take some time to master. To turtle roll big waves, the instructions are the same, just make sure that you have practiced and you have a really good grip before you go for the bigger waves head on.