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Tubing can be a lot more complex than it might appear. The girl above left in the orange tube is surfing the crest of the wave just as a boarder might do. As long as she keeps her weight in front of the crest, she can ride the wave all the way in to shore. The water on the front of the wave is slipping downhill. She needs to be riding that downhill slope faster than the wave is moving forward. If she slows down, she will "ride up" on the wave and pass over the crest, either being dumped upside down as it passes under her, or dropping suddenly down the backside.

The two girls above right are cruising above the bar watching the outside break line. They are in sort of a valley between break lines. Inside of them, toward the photographer but out of the photo at bottom, is the shore break (see photos and text below). If they drift out or in, they will get involved in the vigorous wave action, but as long as they stay positioned over the bar, they will remain in calm water indefinitely.

At right the girl at left is using the small pink tube, which allows her to ride in deep water with body below the surface. She can thus use her feet and legs to frog kick, turning the tube quickly or pushing it straight ahead. Having her feet and hands both available allows her to deal with the bigger waves out beyond the bar. Notice the girls are barely beyond the break line. They are not interested in paddling out toward the open ocean. They have just cleared the wave at the bottom of the photo and are positioning themselves for the large wave visible in the opper fourth of the photo. It will begin to break as it approaches the bar, and they have time to turn and kick vigorously to bring their forward speed up to that of the wave. They must match the wave's speed to catch it. If they do that, they can ride it all the way to shore.

The girls in these last four photos are riding the wave crests right at the shorebreak. This can be a lot of fun but if you misjudge the break one of three things will happen, all bad. You may actually fall down the clifflike front of the wave as the entire front of the wave collapses at the last second. If this happens the back half of the wave will fall on top of you. There isn't enough of it left to be dangerous, but you may get a noseful of salt water or lose your sunglasses. Second, if you allow the swirling water to turn you sideways, the wave may roll the inner tube up the beach like a wheel with you rotating inside. This can be quite entertaining for everyone on the beach to watch and will probably send you to your beach chair or blanket for about five minutes to catch your breath. Third, if you slip just inside the front lip of the wave, it may hurl you downward and shoreward and you will experience a spectacular but painful landing on the sand. To avoid these three catastrophes, the girls are intentionally sliding back down the rear of the wave at the very last second. In the upper left shot, Abby in the orange tube is on the crest but is backing off. In the middle photo, both girls are back down in the trough looking to catch the next wave. In the right photo, they're on that next wave but have backed off early because it is cresting later than usual, too close to shore. At left, the wave is cresting but the girls are safely sliding down the back side. These waves are at high tide. In the troughs their feet could touch bottom, but they're using both hands and feet to swim vigorously.
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