How to Handle Closeouts0 comments
Many surfers like to pull out of the wave before it closes out. Pulling out avoids having to battle back out through the waves every time you finish a ride. That said, it can be great fun to pull into closeouts, and there's always a chance that you'll make the barrel.
It's something that needs to be done safely. The potential to injure yourself, another surfer or beach user, is greatly increased if you are not paying attention. There are a couple of techniques that you can use to reduce the likelihood of accidental injury.
- Take it like a rat
- Straighten out
- The flick out
- The bail (if safe to do so)
Take it like a rat
If you love to pull into a closeout, the take it like a rat technique is one that teaches you courage to face the barrel and survive without bailing. If you bailed every time, who knows how many barrels you'd miss out on. Tuck in, charge and concentrate on to make it.
The "take it like a rat" technique
Another safe closeout dismount choice is the straighten out technique. It's pretty self explanatory. Before the wave closes out, turn to head straight to the shore. Give yourself plenty of time as to avoid being hit by the lip. You'll be in front of the wave, but you will still be in control of your surfboard, and able to negotiate any obstructions.
The "straighten out" technique
A really old fashioned way, and one worth learning, is the flickout. Crank a hard bottom turn and follow through to verticality and drive / flick your board up and over the face of the wave. Before surfboard leashes, the flickout was an important move for your survival in the surf. Power and timing are important to avoid being hammered over the falls.
Bailing is the least safe method, you lose direct control of your surfboard. If the break you are surfing is busy, this is not really an option. The potential for collision is high. Only use the bail technique if it's safe to do so.
Fall backwards off the board, kicking the board out in front of you. Try to land your body flat, just on the wave side of the trough. The wave will tend to carry your board forward, which is why you kick it out in front, and the part of the wave just up-wave from the trough will give you a bit of a cushion to hit. Landing in this position should make it less likely to get sucked over the falls.
It's important to stress how important it is that you are 100% sure that it is safe to kick your board away.
One last thing, beware of possible surf clothing malfunctions when playing around with closeouts. Bikini tops are easily removed if caught by a powerful closeout, and there is nothing funnier that to see a surfer whose boardshorts have been removed after a closeout wipeout!
Next stop, closeouts at the Wedge. Good luck.
This article was created following a how to handle closeouts topic over on the surfing lessons forum. Thanks to all the contributors to the topic. The photos in this article were provided by jaffa1949.
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