When surfing tubes, just like in other fun activities, entry is easier than exit. Pulling in is easier than pulling out, and pulling out at the wrong time can have consequences. So, you’re goin on surfari, you’re gonna get tubed, you’re determined, you’re ready, GoPro is primed. But herein lies the snag: Reefbreak sections, just like beachbreak sections, section. And when they do, you need an out.
1. Pull through the back (forehand).
Faced with the shut down, the surfer pumps and digs inside rail into the bottom of the face, hoping to pop straight through the back (perhaps vigorously swimming) and avoid the dreaded over the falls. Works great when done right, yet a bit like delaying and worsening the inevitable, when done wrong.
2. Fall back off the tail.
Tricky to execute for mainly mental reasons. The theory is that, rather than leap forwards where the momentum is taking you (shortly followed by your sharp-ass surfboard, pinged the direction of your bum) you let yourself gently lean back onto the foamball (a bit like those team bonding trust exercises). Here, the anger of the wave has already expressed itself, thus you receive less pounding. A bit like communism, the theory is great, but…
3. Leap forwards over the nose.
Your most common exit for intermediate tunnelers. You’re racing, you’re in a hurry, you want out… so you dive for the exit. The problem is the urethane bungee that fires your fins and nose at you, plus the shallow trajectory of your dive inhibits penetration, and thus making a trip over the dreaded falls more likely.
4. Crowd-pleaser jump down (pictured).
When in a really rather roomy pit, sensations – and consequences – increase exponentially. The natural entertainer in you might look down from the high line, see air below and think ‘Canonball!’. Done right, you penetrate deep, macking tube rushes over and you resurface out the back. Done wrong, you land on dry reef, cut your feet, break your ankles… and then the wipeout starts. Yikes!
5. Straighten out/Doggy door.
At certain Indo spots, like Greenbush for example, the shape of the reef on the nasty end section means that sometimes it’s preferable to get away from it landward, rather than fling yourself into the death chew. Thus you’ll see surfers escape down, yes onto a shallow shelf, but hopefully after the worst of the explosion out in front. Dangers associated with the doggy door is the door shutting, and compression/guillotine issues, and then the ghastly beating.
6. The bitter end.
The best advice for some is do nothing. Don’t eject, don’t run, don’t hide, don’t escape. Just stand there until she takes you down. The benefits of this technique are in lengthening your tube time, and the fact that it looks fucken cool. Like the fall back of the tail technique, it can be counter-instinctive, despite your very best intentions.
p.s. The withdrawal technique is a terrible form of contraception. Just ask Bob Marley, he sired 14 kids.