Tube riding is one of the most exciting and thrilling experiences in bodyboarding.
There is nothing more satisfying than pulling into an open tube and making it back out.
In fact, tubes can become addictive.
Surfers and bodyboarders travel to the four corners of the globe seeking out these sometimes perfect, sometimes frightening, but always beautiful, wonders of nature.
In the prone position, the bodyboard is the most functional tube riding vehicle because – unlike the surfboard which is ‘driven’ by the feet – bodyboarders have full control with their whole body. Also, we can fit into tubes that surfers would be hard pressed to squeeze into.
Tube riding is an art, and like all arts it takes time and patience to master. You need to have the knowledge of the optimum combinations of swell, tide and wind which create the hollowest conditions at any particular break. You also need to know how to read a wave, when to stall and when to accelerate to get the maximum amount of tube time.
Step 1 The take-off. You need to either race down the line of a walled up ‘about to throw out’ barrel, or slow down and stall for the tube by letting your feet trail in the wave, which enables you to steer and control your speed. Look down the line to focus on what the wave is about to do.
Step 2 You will sometimes need to bottom turn quickly to get inder the barrel’s lip or, on slower waves, a drawn out bottom turn can help you line up for the tube. Foucs down the line and keep your eye looking up at the lip line so that you can speed up or slow down according to the speed that it is breaking.
Step 3 Maximise your tube time by regulating your speed inside the barrel. Lunge forward to get out of the exit if it looks as though it is going to run away from you, or sit back on your board and enjoy the view if the barrel isn’t racing along too fast. All the time absorb the shockwaves created by the impact of the throwing lip on the wave’s trough. The deepest tube rides are a gamble of speed and control as you try to get as deep as you possibly can so that you’re sat on the foam ball (the deepest point of the tube). Excellent rail control is essential for good tube riding, as water is rushing up the wave’s face at such a pace that it can become difficult to maintain your line.
Step 4 In order to exit the tube, make sure that you are always trying to ride up towards the top of the opening of the barrel. Exiting the tube with the spit – the explosion of misty water filled air that is expelled as the tube collapses – is the ultimate way to end a tube ride!
- Practice rail and speed control in sucky waves to increase your technique
- Watch videos to see how guys like Hardy and Player lunge their weight forward to increase speed and make those fast barrels.
- Practicing in closeout shorebreaks will help you become more familiar with being inside the tube. Check the explosion of the lip with the trough and then learn to negotiate the shockwaves that travel up the wave face.
- Keep your eyes open and don’t dip your head unless you absolutely need to