A closeout is when a wave just breaks on itself all at once or in too large a section for you to get past.
Sometimes, a wave closes out and you don’t have many options on where to go.
If you’re just learning or you surf beach breaks often, you’re going to encounter closeouts.
Learning how to navigate a closeout will make you a better surfer, it will hone in your skills for picking lines and identifying the right spots, and you’ll be able to have fun regardless of conditions.
If you find yourself with nothing but closeouts to surf, you’ve got some options.
- Pull in – Sometimes, a closeout can mean the opportunity for some tube time. Chances are you’re going to get demolished, but practicing this will make you better at surfing more critical spots on the wave (i.e. the barrel). Pulling into a close requires a quick, steep drop, and even quicker tuck and turn into the direction you wish to go. Getting low and grabbing your outside rail can help.
- Go Straight – While “Going Straight!” isn’t the coolest thing to announce, sometimes that’s your best options with a closeout. Drop-in, get in front of the lip, and avoid being demolished. If you’re a beginner who has just progressed from the whitewater, sometimes going straight is the best way to improve anyway.
- Over the Back – If you’re more advanced, sometimes a closeout will allow enough room for a quick bottom turn, but not much else. If this is the case, you can take the drop, bottom turn, and continue up and over the face of the wave before it dumps.
- Bail if you Must – If you know you’re going to get demolished, bailing safely is key. Try to fall away from your board and in a position that will allow you to get under and behind the power of the wave. Don’t do this when it’s crowded.
Taking some closeout beatings can be a great teacher. You’ll develop your confidence, you’ll get better at handling wipeouts, and you’ll build a stronger eye for lines and waves.