How To Get Barreled

Ace Buchan teaches you to tuberide

| posted on October 17, 2013
Ace Buchan's 6-step plan to getting shacked. Photo: Childs

Ace Buchan’s 6-step plan to getting shacked. Photo: Childs

Whether it’s in the heaving beachbreak barrels of Hossegor or a South Pacific reef pass, Ace Buchan has built himself a reputation for his prowess in the tube. Here, Ace gives us the ins and outs of the, err, in and out.

Confidence. More than anything, more than what board you ride or what kind of peak you’re surfing or anything like that, getting barreled is all about confidence. You’ll see a lot of surfers out there who really may not be all that talented on the open face, but if you put them in heaving barrels, they’ll really shine. And I think that’s all about their confidence. The number-one thing you can do to become a better tuberider is believe that you’re gonna make the tube. We’ll talk about the details behind the technique in a second, but for anyone reading this, keep in mind that at the end of the day, it’s all about confidence.

Board Choice. For the most part, I’ll ride my regular-sized shortboard in barreling waves, but with a rounded tail to get a little more drive. If the waves get above the 6-foot mark, I’ll go up an inch or two on my board. I’ve been experimenting with quads a bit in really heavy tubes and they seem to go pretty well. But for the most part, for your average surfer, a regular shortboard with a rounded tail should do the trick.

Draw the Right Line. Once you’ve dropped into a wave and you can begin seeing it start to barrel ahead of you, it’s easy to make one of two mistakes: you can either draw too high of a line and end up getting pitched over with the lip, or you can draw too low of a line and take a lip to the head. The trick to this—and I’ll be honest, even the best guys make these mistakes—is understanding just how the wave is gonna barrel. That just comes with time studying a particular lineup. If you’re not really familiar with a lineup, sit on the beach and study the barrels. If they’re a little more almond-shaped, you’ll want to take a high line. If they’re top to bottom, you can get away with taking a lower line.

Stall. Stalling for the tube is one of the most important elements you can master to become a better tuberider. I actually try and not stall if I can avoid it. I like to position myself behind the peak enough where I can either backdoor it or drop right into it. But sometimes, you’ll have to stall. There’s no real right or wrong way to do it, just as long as you’re dropping speed. There’s the single-hand drag where you drag your inside arm in the wave’s face. You can also do the two-handed stall for a little extra style points. There’s also the snap-stall that Tom Carroll mastered in heavy waves. It’s basically a small snap under the lip that puts you right in the tube. All in all, I don’t think there’s one way that’s better than the other, as long as you’re cutting your speed and staying in the pocket, you’re doing something right.

Hold On. You’ll see a lot of people pull into waves and write themselves off earlier than they should. Always try and hold on for that extra second. You never know when the wave will open up again. Plus, it’s good to get comfortable with the foam ball. You’ll realize pretty quickly that you can still navigate through a tube with the foam ball on your tail. Trust me, it’s all worth it. When you make it through that one tube that you thought was gonna closeout on you—well, that’s just about the best feeling you can get in surfing.

Eject. There does come a point when you’re in the barrel and you know that it’s gonna close out. Although there are a few different ways that you can eject from a tube, the number one thing to keep in mind is that you want to get your board as far away from you as possible. Some guys will kick their board out in front of them, but I like to jump forward. Either way, just get the board away from you.

  • Tillish Bazooka

    I will think of all of the above next time I paddle out to the 2 foot-onshore-mush, I call my homebreak! Thank you, Ace!

    • Seb

      There is something called traveling my friend, you’ll see it’s fun, you get to see new places and meet different people 😉

      • nick


  • RuDee Sade

    Love the mix of theory/mindset + practial information. Great piece.

  • Ben badboy woodman

    This is fucking ridiculous!!!! Fuck you man

    • Ryan

      Why is this ridiculous? There are some helpful tips, sounds like you’re just some agro d-bag who thinks he owns lineups when you surf.

  • of Monkeys

    Everyone at thanks you for these tips! Here comes winter 🙂

  • Robert Chartuk

    Will pull in next time thanks to you, Ace!

  • Lisa

    Not what I would call an instructional article but certainly helpful tips.

  • JustTheTip

    As indicated by Tillish, the one missing tip from this article is to pick a wave that will allow you to get barreled. If you can afford it, Swimming Pools in Fiji is a great place to get barreled for the first time without risking your life on the reef. Any other wave suggestions?

    • ZEUS

      would love to go to namotu one day… good suggestion, swimming pools looks epic.

  • Le Blanc

    An elastic band is also useful in keeping your testicles from migrating to your throat

  • Instagram @surfdb

    I HAVE A QUESTION!! I live in Florida and we have very shallow hard sand bars and when a strong low pressure comes threw we get big heavy fast barrels and well this winter I droped this one behind the peak and I put both my arms in the wave and I still beat the barrel.. Can someone tell me a better way to stall?

    • Dylan Dwight

      Be a little heavier than normal on your back foot. That should help you.

    • keith usher

      Don’t use the full potential of the drop to gain max speed, or fade the take off to get even deeper

  • Donny Duckbutter

    Ace, thanks for the advice. I have only been barreled once by luck, and I hate myself every time I don’t make it out. Very useful food for thought to keep in kind on my next paddle out.

  • Stephen Alesch

    so helpful….brappppppppp

  • YEEWTV .

    Ben woodman your a kook who probably goes to the beach with a surfboard but doesn’t surf. Keep your shot mouth opinions to yourself….kook

  • Walter Macmaster

    He forgot to mention about backside tuberiding and using your knee to stall or grabbing to rail on a big sucking wave

  • Ray

    I thought it was solid advice. Thanks man!!

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