Riding the Tube
Surfing good waves is always more fun than just hangin' around... as a matter of fact, it's more fun than just about anything I can think of. There is one aspect of surfing, however, that is more than just fun... it is, in fact, much like making love, or even being born again. That most amazing of feelingsis called getting barrelled, and if you ask any long-time, well-traveled surfer, they'll pretty much all say exactly the same thing - there's nothing they would rather do than get into a long, deep tube, completely dissapearing from a beachgoer's view, and then speed out of the barrell, back into daylightand with the most incredible feeling, a feeling like they've just entered a wormhole into another universe and returned, and in a way, that's exactly what happens...
The best professionals, local tube-masters and even average Joes who get a good, long tube will agree - time expands inside the tube. It may be an actual scientific oversight, and one day a brilliant physicist will find tube-time-expansion to be true, even if it's only for a split second. At any rate, being inside an overhead tube, with the glass curtain of the wave hitting the water out in front of the nose of your board, and focusing so intently that it's virtually impossible to describe is truly being in the zone - "tunnel vision" doesn't quite do it justice. When you emerge cleanly maybe you'll get off a few choice turns, or maybe just make a turn, and head up and over the back of the wave with a glued-on smile. Either way, when you're done with the wave, you've paddled back out to the lineup, and have a chance to get settled, you'll remember every single bit of the barrell, every single falling drop, like it's a crystal-clear memory being played in slow motion on a plasma screen.
The best tubes are found on the best waves, which, at least for barrells, are usually reefbreaks and poinbreaks. Reefbreaks can offer big, wide open barrels you could fit a V.W. van in, and offers that extra kick of dangerous thrill to your adrenaline soup. You can look around a bit and enjoy the view in a big tube - some good surfers actually look backwards into the pit! Pointbreak tubes can be long, long ones, tubes that you can actually forget that hard focus of making it out, just a bit, and play around in the tube, running your fingers along the rising wall of water on one side, and feeling the breaking lip falling with your other hand.
Coming out of a barrell is like being born again, in that you emerge from the ocean's womb and into the daylight - except that instead of crying about it, you shout out with happiness! And nobody spanks your bottom... emerging from a tube is also very much like making love, and without being too descriptive, I'll just say this: you see a wave you like, take off and ride in anticipation of pulling into a sweet barrell, then getting as deep as you can, with one hundred percent focus of body and mind, riding the tube and forgetting all about time, and then when you're pulling out of the barrell, you may well get spit out of the tube in a spray of whitewater...
Excuse me now while I wipe my brow...
I truly hope I don't offend you with my description of what it's like to get barrelled, but it really is true, a fact proven by a nationwide Surfer Magazine poll, that more than fifty percent of surfers feel that riding the tube - not just surfing, but specifically, riding the tube - is the only thing better than sex. On that note, I'll end this article, and hopefully leave you with the idea of learning the truly amazing thrill of getting tubed. Just like riding a bike, you'll never forget your first time, and you only get better and better the more you practice.