Learn how to ride Drop Knee on a Bodyboard


With Warrick Murphy

Drop Knee (DK) bodyboarding is a whole new level of wave riding. When done properly, it’s a super smooth and stylish way to drop into a wave and set you up for a whole bunch of manoeuvres.   Drop knee rider, Warrick Murphy explains the key to progressing into it.

1.  Why is learning DK so much fun and how does it offer a completely new angle to normal bodyboarding? 

Learning DK can be an absolute blast. It’s a great way to mix things up from normal bodyboarding. That’s what sets bodyboarders apart from other wave riding counterparts. We can use the same board for DK, Prone and Stand up if we wanted to.

You read the wave in a completely different way than you would on prone. More top to bottom turns and big snaps, down the line carves and hands-free barrels. The great thing is you can ride both surfer and bodyboard friendly waves, performing tricks from both forms of wave riding. 

how to dkInstructor Warrick Murphy demonstrates flawless technique in a Cornish barrel

2. What are the key tips to getting up and riding waves in the DK stance? 

Dropknee is all about balance. You have such a small surface area to work with. From the second you get up, the lines you draw on the wave and the execution of maneuvers; It is one of the hardest forms of wave riding out there I believe; especially when it comes to making it look stylish and natural. 

how to dkWarrick demonstrates to his pupil Marino how to ride drop knee

Some key things to remember: 

Keep that nose down whilst getting up.

I feel that keeping the nose of your board as flat to the water as possible whilst you’re getting up will keep your forward momentum flowing. If that nose goes up you’ll end up stalling the board and falling off the back of the wave. 

Speed! Without speed, dropknee is almost non-existent.

Paddle harder than you would for prone. Wave choice and your ability to generate speed for manoeuvres are crucial. 

Choose your get up.

There are a number of various ways you can get up to DK. You need to choose the one that suits you. Be sure that you are getting up in a swift movement and not jerking your board around. This will once again create drag and you’ll lose speed. Look at these 3 pioneers for getting up techniques. They all get up differently. Swing that leg around, try not to pull it through like you would when standing up. That fin will get in the way and you will end up wiping out. 

Matt Lackey

Paul Roach

Dave Winchester

(put these names in to youtube and enjoy watching their technique) 

Knee Placement.

Whether you are a goofy (right foot at the front) or regular (left foot at the front) your knee placement is another key aspect. Too far away from your inside rail and you’re going to slide about, too close and you’re going to bog your rail.  With practice you will find the sweet spot; What ever you do, don’t fall into the habit of sitting on your calf. Sitting down not only looks horrendously bad but also makes it harder to generate speed. 

Board Direction.

Once you’re up and looking down the line, remember not to have your board facing down the line as well. You want your board’s nose to face the beach at a 45 degree angle from the wave. Lean over towards the face to direct board in the way you want to go. 

3. You delivered a lesson for our Italian guest Marino – what did he find that he was doing wrong and how did you get him doing it right? 

Marino and myself chatted and went through the motions of our speed generation techniques before hitting the water. The best way for me to see and help him was in the water. After seeing shots of me double knee riding, he found that he was letting go of his hands and thus had no weight on the nose. This made him constantly fall off the back of the wave. 

Once we spoke about those points he was on his way. The change was almost instant. (See above tips) 

4. When you’ve got the basics of DK down, what comes next? 

What comes next is limitless. Practice those floaters, carves and snaps. They won’t come easily or quickly. A common misconception is that DK is easy, the slack way of surfing. Don’t believe this at all. People are just jealous because you are learning a form of wave riding mastered on two rails instead of 3 safety fins. This being said, watch surfing and dropknee riders for inspiration. (Aka Lyman, Paul Roach, Dave Ballard, Matt Lackey, Raffie Meyer) there are too many names to mention but look these guys up on Youtube. 

5. What boards did you use for Marino to improve on? 

how to dkWarrick selects a bigger more buoyant board to help Marino master the drop knee technique

Marino was keen to learn DK and become a versatile rider. Unfortunately the board of his choice was a tad too small. If you want to ride DK and prone I would suggest going up half an inch or even a full inch more to help with this. So you would have a separate board for DK and prone. 

I recommended Marino use a 44 inch board. (The one in the photos)

This acted like a big surfboard when learning to surf. More surface area, more speed can be generated and would assist with his balance. Once we spent some time on this board and he had the basics down, we then moved back onto his personal board. But I recommended that he look for a bigger board in the future. By doing this he could ride a board that was more forgiving, more buoyant and made it easier to learn on and pick up some useful techniques quickly. 

Are you interested in learning to DK? Join one of our bodyboard coaching weekends or hit us up for a lesson, available all year round!


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