Riding the barrel

kbomb's picture
kbomb started the topic in Saturday, 6 Feb 2016 at 10:16pm

I've never been deep in a barrel. I always punch through the wave instead off trying to ride it out. To be honest I'm scared of what happens if you don't make the barrel. I. Is coming off in the barrel or being closed out on in the barrel a bad wipeout? I have heard people say the safest place is in the barrel, is this true? Considering barreling waves break in shallower water are the risks of injury higher?
Appreciate it if you could help this kook out!

groundswell's picture
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groundswell commented Sunday, 7 Feb 2016 at 5:25am

The tube is pretty safe place to be, for some reason most of the turbulance is in the lip and trough of the wave out the side of a barrel. The worst part is getting hung up in a lip too long and getting pitched but after you have pulled in its pretty safe. The longer you're in there it seems to get safer. There are exceptions to this rule such as surfing reefs that send you into shallower bits where you might scrape you fins or the barrel starts ledging and drying out but those are not that common.
A good thing to do is try to stay in the tube and stay ahead of all the turbulance in a tube. first there can be a shockwave or a foamball.
If you're definately not going to make it out falling off after the shockwave will most often send you shooting out the back of the wave.
The shockwave can snap or crease your board though on heavier ledges.
But yes the tube is the safest place to be most of the time.
Hang on and try to focus and you might just come out of something you never thought youd make.
Best feeling ever.
Another trick to escape is stepping off the tail of your board but thats a bit of an advanced skill for certain waves.
Try diving flat in the trench of the shocky to start off with. You most likely pop out the back and not be held under.
Ill post a photo of a shocky and try to draw details on the pic.

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groundswell commented Sunday, 7 Feb 2016 at 5:40am

Part of tuberiding will be trying to stay ahead of the foamball and shockwave, more skilled surfers can ride the foamball and bunnyhop over shockwaves but for now you should just try to stay a little ahead of the foamball. After a few tries you will probably notice a nice feeling of your fins sliding around out of control, that is when your fins are sitting on the foamball.
The foamball in some cases will force you out of the barrel as it gains speed in the tube sometimes.

goofyfoot's picture
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goofyfoot commented Sunday, 7 Feb 2016 at 11:36am

Wow awesome response GSwell! Good work

kbomb's picture
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kbomb commented Sunday, 7 Feb 2016 at 12:03pm

Awesome groundswell! Thanks heaps mate! Just a matter of having the confidence to hang in there.

groundswell's picture
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groundswell commented Sunday, 7 Feb 2016 at 1:15pm

No problem i was bored last night so it was something to do. By the way if the pictures words are too hard to read you can click on the picture to make it bigger.

kbomb's picture
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kbomb commented Sunday, 7 Feb 2016 at 3:50pm

Too easy, thanks again Gswell!

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floyd commented Sunday, 7 Feb 2016 at 5:31pm

lots of great pics in your bucket there gswell

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Blowin commented Sunday, 7 Feb 2016 at 10:36pm

Great photos Groundswell.

Surfing world is so small, I've met some of those people.

Cheers for sharing

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groundswell commented Sunday, 7 Feb 2016 at 11:49pm

Thanks Floyd and Blowin, been a long few years of collecting photos are couple of them are from Iponk actually, who you have probably met Blowin.Some (the smaller speedies ones of me and medium sized ones of Matt Percy are from John at Bobbies camp as well.The helmet cam one is mine.
Hardest blow was having my camera stolen with good footage of a really rare break working on a massive swell- i needed to hire a motored canoe out there into a hidden bay then next day the footage was stolen along as a lot of other footage of a few months work. Thieves suck.

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blow-in-9999 commented Sunday, 7 Feb 2016 at 11:38pm

A lid and a small reef/slab/beachie is a REALLY good way of seeing just how deep you can go. Even 2-3' and a kmart summer special* is enough on a lid. Just pull super deep in and see what happens. Don't do this somewhere crowded if you don't want to piss people off -- you want to aim to fail about half your rides. The ideal spot to dick drag is with your tail across the bottom of the top textbox in groundswells picture. From footage I'd suggest that your back foot should be there on a stick but I don't stand up.

The lid is better for this as you fit into smaller barrels and its harder / cheaper to snap. You can bodysurf too but it requires a lot more core control.

* Your bottom turn will be shit as you won't regain energy from the flex. Just don't expect to do decent airs.

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groundswell commented Sunday, 7 Feb 2016 at 11:57pm

I agree with that Blow-in 9999. a lot of people seem embarrassed to ride a lid (location makes a big difference)but they teach you a lot about barrels. Then you can use that awareness on a surfboard too.

groundswell's picture
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groundswell commented Monday, 8 Feb 2016 at 12:17am

Heres a hectic clip of a bodyboarder going for it, as you can see the bigger the barrel the more shockwave, spray and turbulence cause by the heavy lip.
http://www.webodyboard.com/mix-bag/without-limits-shane-ackerman/

happyasS's picture
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happyasS commented Monday, 8 Feb 2016 at 12:41am

go the bodyboard on a beachy for a while....being such slow peices of shit you will find yourself in plenty of barrells, many times inadvertently. builds confidence that you wont get hurt, most of the time you just pop out the back somehow. i learnt to body board in scarborough in perth many years back before taking up surfing....what a shit wave that was....but there were endless barrells to pull into, and i never made it out of a single one!....peice of shit wave. i went back years later, and snapped a board....did i mention its a peice of shit wave? get the drift kbomb. just find the shittiest closeout beach break you can and pull into everything.

dont blame me if you get hurt though, i aint your mother.

staitey's picture
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staitey commented Monday, 8 Feb 2016 at 12:08pm

That's a really nice pic groundswell, gives a great explanation.

With regards to being in the barrel or ending a ride following a close out, one thing I've tried not to do these days is 'dive off'.
a) pretty harsh jolt to the neck when going fast and breaking the surface of the water
b) I've no idea how shallow it is sometimes so would prefer to pancake it or feet first it when getting of the board due to a close out

When I started to surf barrels I would get scared of what would happen if I didn't make it out so would often jump off flick board forward. At this time I was snapping and creasing boards so much more than happens these days. I think it was because the board was being propelled towards the area of the wave with the most energy (lip). So I think there's merit in staying with the barrel for good or for bad. You may make it out when you didn't think you would've and if you don't you're often thrown forward and the board is safer behind in the white water.

Got to say though its not a nice feeling going over the falls 'in' the barrel not having much control over how you land or what you land on!

staitey's picture
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staitey commented Monday, 8 Feb 2016 at 12:09pm

Can anyone explain the phenomena of a wave 'breathing'………i've not felt this personally but I've seen footage of that moment before a big blow out where this seems to happen.

Craig's picture
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Craig commented Monday, 8 Feb 2016 at 12:48pm

A wave spitting is caused by the wave peeling so fast of throwing over a big section, trapping air inside it which can't escape normally, and hence pressure builds up and it's then exhaled.

You can have a perfectly peeling barrel not spit as it's travelling at a speed where it doesn't trap any air, but fasten it up or add in a faster section throwing ahead of it, faster than the air can escape and you'll see it spit.

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groundswell commented Monday, 8 Feb 2016 at 12:59pm

I think Straitey is referring to how a wave seems to suck people and air back in before it spits like that one of Mark Mathews at pipe several years ago. Ill see if i can find it.
I agree straitey diving off is a dangerous thing to do. You never know if the reef will rip your face off.
It does get very shallow especially in that trench.So far though ive been safe. Holding on as long as possible is definitely recommended.

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groundswell commented Monday, 8 Feb 2016 at 1:02pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgM3F9lCu10
For a ssecond there it seems to breath Mark back in , but that could be backwash or something i dont know but there are other cases and its a weird phenomenon for sure.

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staitey commented Monday, 8 Feb 2016 at 1:44pm

Craig wrote:

A wave spitting is caused by the wave peeling so fast of throwing over a big section, trapping air inside it which can't escape normally, and hence pressure builds up and it's then exhaled.

You can have a perfectly peeling barrel not spit as it's travelling at a speed where it doesn't trap any air, but fasten it up or add in a faster section throwing ahead of it, faster than the air can escape and you'll see it spit.

Yeah I know how the 'spit' works. Its just that I've heard a few pro's whether it be talking about Kirra or Hawaii, Mexico, mention the wave 'breath'………

…….I think they are referring to the few moments before a blowout is coming. I don't think its something that happens very often but Pipe is probably one wave you could see it. You know when it's this gaping wave and its almost as though the mist goes back into the barrel before it unleashes??

Anyway just wondering as its something I've heard mentioned only a handful of times in the past year. I'd say it'd only happen in the heaviest of waves

Craig's picture
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Craig commented Monday, 8 Feb 2016 at 1:57pm

Ah yes, I've seen it as well, the wave breath in before puking its guts out. Not sure how that vacuum is created..

mk1's picture
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mk1 commented Monday, 8 Feb 2016 at 3:41pm

groundswell wrote: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgM3F9lCu10
For a ssecond there it seems to breath Mark back in , but that could be backwash or something i dont know but there are other cases and its a weird phenomenon for sure.

Not sure I see that - just thought the spit had 2 stages??

groundswell's picture
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groundswell commented Monday, 8 Feb 2016 at 4:34pm

I cant really either but in an interview Mark was saying he seemed to get pulled back in deeper and slowed right down before speeding up again.
There are better examples than that one of what straiteys talking about but they are hard to find.

caml's picture
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caml commented Monday, 8 Feb 2016 at 5:42pm

Its a bit of a old wives tale the inhalation part

zenagain's picture
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zenagain commented Monday, 8 Feb 2016 at 5:46pm

But the exhalation is a beautiful thing.

Like being kissed by mother nature.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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wolf 77 commented Monday, 8 Feb 2016 at 6:37pm

On the inhalation bit, have seen in particulal waves a very slight chandalier effect occurs just prior to the spit, i do wonder if the opening of the trench can, on very rare occasions possibly displace enough air to create a slight vacuum from the air outside the chamber?

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caml commented Monday, 8 Feb 2016 at 7:06pm

Yes when they lurch it will expand to create that thing , that may well balance the pressures momentarily
A vortex perhaps with a vacuum for a moment ?

carpetman's picture
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carpetman commented Friday, 12 Feb 2016 at 11:04am

The best example I've seen of the inhalation...

A video posted by Kyle Buthman (@kyle_buthman) on Feb 8, 2016 at 7:26am PST

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stunet commented Friday, 12 Feb 2016 at 11:05am

carpetman wrote: The best example I've seen of the inhalation...  

A video posted by Kyle Buthman (@kyle_buthman) on Feb 8, 2016 at 7:26am PST

Great example CM. No arguing with that.

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staitey commented Friday, 12 Feb 2016 at 11:07am

Yeah that's exactly it! Reckon that's possible at smaller waves like Kirra?

mk1's picture
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mk1 commented Friday, 12 Feb 2016 at 11:28am

Damn!

Craig's picture
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Craig commented Friday, 12 Feb 2016 at 11:30am

Yep that is the best example you'll ever get!!

Imagine being in that thing.. "get me out get me out, oh shit its sucking me back in, fuck!!!"

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batfink commented Friday, 12 Feb 2016 at 12:43pm

carpetman wrote: The best example I've seen of the inhalation...

That is amazing carpetman.

Two possible explanations that come to mind, with no science at all in it. One the idea previously mentioned where the space inside the barrel expands due to the way it's breaking at that point (while the exit section gets smaller). The other possibly as a reaction from a spit out the other side of the barrel, although yes, not sure how that would work exactly, but when air is moving fast it is creating a vacuum behind it.

On matters of riding the barrel, would anyone like to enlighten me on picking the right line. That's one I have trouble with, the usual result being sucked up the face of the wave, eventually. One of those counterintuitive aspects of surfing I suspect, where you should actually point your board to where the lip is going to hit the water rather than actually aiming for the exit.

Aiming for the exit seems to be the wrong thing to do.

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carpetman commented Friday, 12 Feb 2016 at 12:55pm

I think you're on the money with your first point Batfink. Although the lip has already been thrown and cannot change direction, the base of the wave is still being impacted on by the bottom contour and so can "drop out", expanding the barrel and creating a momentary vacuum before the increase of pressure and release through the spit.

If it can happen on a big scale it can happen on a small scale. Obviously the likely hood of noticing it on a small wave is reduced though.

Anyone have any other theories?

mk1's picture
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mk1 commented Friday, 12 Feb 2016 at 1:06pm

Batfink- I am by no means an tube pig but for me: eyes fixed on exit, board facing about 15 degrees off straight/towards the lip. Eyes staying absolutely fixed on the exit is the hard part for me.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Friday, 12 Feb 2016 at 1:33pm

carpetman wrote: I think you're on the money with your first point Batfink. Although the lip has already been thrown and cannot change direction, the base of the wave is still being impacted on by the bottom contour and so can "drop out", expanding the barrel and creating a momentary vacuum before the increase of pressure and release through the spit. If it can happen on a big scale it can happen on a small scale. Obviously the likely hood of noticing it on a small wave is reduced though. Anyone have any other theories?

No additional theories but you'll notice in that vid the wave passes over some whitewash from the wave before making the inhalation visible. Like iodine in a fluid, the whitewash betrays which way the air is moving.

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goofyfoot commented Friday, 12 Feb 2016 at 3:12pm

carpetman wrote: The best example I've seen of the inhalation...

A video posted by Kyle Buthman (@kyle_buthman) on Feb 8, 2016 at 7:26am PST


Fuck I couldn't stop watching that! It's mesmerising!
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Craig commented Friday, 12 Feb 2016 at 3:28pm

Stu, actually the wave makes that white-wash when the lip explodes.

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batfink commented Friday, 12 Feb 2016 at 5:00pm

mk1 wrote: Batfink- I am by no means an tube pig but for me: eyes fixed on exit, board facing about 15 degrees off straight/towards the lip. Eyes staying absolutely fixed on the exit is the hard part for me.

Cheers Mk1. That's what I'm thinking. Harder to hold your line when directing your board differently to where your looking, but yeah, that's what I'll be playing out in mind.

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batfink commented Friday, 12 Feb 2016 at 5:03pm

goofyfoot wrote: Fuck I couldn't stop watching that! It's mesmerising!

Same. When it's sucking back, it looks like one of the giant sand worms from 'Dune'.

A monster bearing it's teeth.

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wally commented Friday, 12 Feb 2016 at 5:24pm

Batfink. I am not a tube pig either, but if you tend to bend from the waist and lean in, you can get that sucked over effect. Bending from the knees and squaring the shoulders towards the exit tends to give you a more upright stance and a better natural line thru the tube.

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mk1 commented Friday, 12 Feb 2016 at 6:26pm

Good point wally. I saw some images of me in a barrel and too much waiste bend, not enough crouch. Have been thinking about that a bit actually and noticed a lot of images of guys with the back door on the inside rail to crouch more square on to the opening. Machado on the orange board on the cover here case in point

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batfink commented Friday, 12 Feb 2016 at 6:53pm

Good idea Wally,

I have particularly noticed some of the pros riding tubes, and especially taking off on sucky waves, and how they deal with that by not standing up from the take off, but almost straight into a crouch position, which of course gives the option for extension as the bottom drops out. If you are standing up already then you are left high and wet in the lip.

You make a great point, as bending at the hips changes your centre of gravity, but crouching can keep the centre over the board.

Although getting on in years, I'm still flexible enough to do it, but can I do it quickly enough?

Bent knees and square shoulders is a great tip. Have been working on something that Nick Carroll wrote ages ago, that riding on your backhand your front foot can be slanted across the stringer too much, and to work on having the front foot straighter towards the stringer (which will help squaring up the shoulders).

More food for thought and much appreciated.

Now, to find a barrelling wave!

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frog commented Friday, 12 Feb 2016 at 7:23pm

if you surf beach breaks you get so used to the typical deep tube happening in the shorebreak as it heads for a closeout Hanging on to the end goes against your instincts and the rewards for hanging on till the end are low. A superbank local in contrast has very good reasons to hang in there - might get another 50 metres or more. So when the beachbreak surfer hits a quality long barrel spot they tend to bail too often. If you recognise this you can override your instincts and just hang in there.

You need to be aware of where your board is during a hang on to the end barrel as you wipeout - it stays close to you. You may miss the extreme violence of the wave but your board seems to spin around within reach. Forehand I often wipe out with my arms hooked up a bit to protect my head. Backhand is a bit more random if you hang to to end

Watching the Chopes contests is great to understand when and how to wipeout in hollow dangerous waves. Sometimes they hang in till the end, but often they dive forward shoulder first into the thick base of the wave and punch through the back or at least avoid the shallowest bit of reef and most of all avoid going over the falls.

Frogg

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wally commented Monday, 15 Feb 2016 at 7:28pm

mk1 and batfink, I'm glad you found my thought had some value.

Now without trying to be Mr. Expert, because I am not....
The surf geniuses can do all sorts of things we can't imagine, but
Yeah, in the tube, if you bend from the waist and lean in, you tend to have your board going more parallel to the wave. Then you get sucked over.
But the wave is going in, as well as across.
Cruising on a good paced wave, the surfboard angle would be about 45 degrees to the wave. Even with a quite fast tube, the correct surfboard line is probably about 30 degrees to the wave. Of course, you can't be thinking too much about precise degrees of angle, but if you bend from the knees, square your shoulders a bit, stay more upright, look towards the exit, then your board tends to naturally get a better angle

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stunet commented Monday, 15 Feb 2016 at 7:51pm

I read threads like this and I try to imagine David Beckham articulating laminar flow around a soccer ball and how he gets those penalty shots to bend and dip seemingly at will.

Of course, old Becks could never explain what he does in practical terms; it's the difference between intuiting why something happens and the academic understanding of it. Feeling versus comprehension.

Which isn't to say reading about how to surf is a waste of time, Nick Carroll drops some gems in his two books about surfing, but by and large surfing is best learnt via trial and error. In this case it would mean identifying a wave that provides a hollow backside section and then committing to it. It need not be a Malcolm Gladwell-style 10,000 hour undertaking but just put a whack of experience under your belt so you eventually start making the right decisions about backside barrel riding - even if you don't know exactly why you're making them.

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Blowin commented Monday, 15 Feb 2016 at 8:24pm

Only one way to learn.

And I never learnt it.

Good luck trying.

I'm always very impressed by a bit of quality backhand tube riding.

I reckon it's the true mark of a good surfer.

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AndyM commented Monday, 15 Feb 2016 at 9:41pm

Yep, that and a scything roundhouse cutback.

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ojackojacko commented Monday, 12 Aug 2019 at 3:55pm