Surf Tips – How to Get Barreled


Getting barreled is probably the most exciting experience when surfing, being encapsulated inside a wave as it pitches and spins while finding safety in a wave big enough to wipe you out in case you make one small wrong move. You also get to see the most beautiful view of the greens and blues, not to mention the brown sands. In addition, you get to be mesmerized by the light at the very end of the wave tunnel.

While we’re not trying to get spiritual here, you probably know the feeling if you’ve seen it yourself. But for beginners, we’re going to take you on a journey on how to get barreled – the right way. In this post, we’ll try to educate you with the things you must know so you can start pulling into barrels, which can certainly be added to your surfing maneuvers in the future. Keep on reading if you want to know more.

How to Get Barreled

Surfing spots that can produce clean and good barrels tend to get wild. With this in mind, it’s only good practice to prepare yourself with the proper know-how prior to trying this challenging maneuver. The general rule is to go frontside, especially when it’s your first time trying the barrel. This way, you can prevent rushes of inner spray straight to your face. You can also reach one hand out to the wave, in case you need balance. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

  • It is deemed essential that you gain speed, enough for you to get down to the wave and on through the barrel before it closes. With this, you need to paddle as efficiently as possible.
  • As you’re only getting started, we are only assuming that your first attempt isn’t at all monstrous. So, you need to get this maneuver any time you can. Our tip, a tightly-angled and crouched drop-in would come a long way. This would also mean that it’s likely that you get moving as you get ahead of the wave’s lip, which is the perfect position you want to be in.
  • Once you’re inside the wave, you need to keep yourself centered. You may think of it this way, you need to become what your purpose inside the wave is – a projectile. Another tip, don’t ever risk ricocheting through touching the wave’s bottom or top. As mentioned, keep yourself centered and go.
  • If you’re surfing for a while now, you know that you need to stay right above the white stuff. If you’re not familiar, the white stuff has its own velocity and it would be difficult for you to get a move on. It tends to get you closed, slow you down, or throw you off the line.
  • Keep your knees bent while your butt and back are kept in a straight line. Once you’re inside the tube, you would realize that there isn’t much room for you to maneuver. With this, you need to keep in mind that your adjustments must be finely-tuned. Also, you need to keep up your speed, as you’re going to need it later. You may also use your ankles and toes to pump.
  • Once you’re inside the barrel, you need to keep your eyes at the end of the tunnel. You may imagine it like the lens of a camera – keep it in the same size as you go along. If it’s beginning to look a bit tight or small, then you may start to pump for more speed. When you watch the top edge, you can get a great indication of what the wave does next. If the angles are sharp, it might mean that the wave is about to die, so, you need to stay close.
  • When it comes to the exit strategy, you don’t really need to spend time thinking about it, as it goes as naturally as possible. When you exit, you may perform a double back and then you may now start paddling for another. However, keep in mind that a lot of factors change how the waves behave. In fact, these changes can also happen abruptly. So, you need to have a plan in the event that the wave changes.

Tips on How to Perform the Barrel

It’s a good idea to pull yourself into closeout waves

While it’s never a good practice to take a beating from the wave, getting pounded by closeout waves is just part of performing the barrel, especially if you’re a beginner. The good thing about it, however, is that it trains your body that gets you inside the tube. If you find yourself getting hurt or your surfboard breaking, you may just grab a bodyboard, then pull into medium or even small-sized barrels.

You may start practicing first on small and hollow waves

You don’t really need overhead waves to get barreled. However, this also depends on your height. With this, if you see that the waves are small, then you may try paddling using your steep shoulders. In fact, experienced surfers find it a lot easier to use their backhand, as their bodies have been lowered and therefore, there’s less space inside the cylinder.

Positioning is key

As mentioned earlier, you need to get yourself centered once you’re inside the tube. With this, you need to study the wave before you paddle out. Doing so allows you to identify the best position to be in. you may also try pinpointing as to the exact area where the opening of the barrel is and then get yourself in that area.

Focus on pumping, as well as stalling

These are two of the most useful maneuvers that will help you perform more barrels. For instance, stalling the surfboard allows you to decrease in speed after you have done a bottom-turn. Pumping, on the other hand, accelerates your surfboard, in case you are needing additional speed when you’re about to exit the tube.

You may try surfing a wave pool

One of the best ways to learn how to barrel is to practice in a local wave pool or any controlled environment. If you’re struggling, you may ask for a professional’s advice or learn from advanced surfing lessons.


As an end note, you don’t really need to be a marine biologist just to study the ocean – the wave in particular. As you go along, you’ll get to understand the various types of wave conditions, allowing you to make the most out of the wave and therefore, performing the barrel. Hopefully, you get to apply this new learning once you’re set on your next surfing session.

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