There is no better feeling in the world than getting a barrel (or tube) while surfing. Being surrounded by that curl of rushing water makes you appreciate the force and beauty of mother nature and is a sensation difficult to describe in writing. If you can’t experience the real thing, the next best option is to check out these videos below of the 9 best surf barrels and tubes in surfing history.
1. Koa Smith, Skeleton Bay, Namibia
This wave is situated on the west coast of Namibia just south of Angola in an area known as the Skeleton Coast. The left-hand, sandy point break barrels so perfectly and for such a long time it almost looks like an artificial wave. In this video, Koa Smith rides a wave for a ridiculous 1 minute and 55 seconds and gets barreled 8 times in the process. This is no easy ride either and on one occasion (skip to: 1min:23secs) Koa has to negotiate a deep barrel and ride the foam ball to make his way out.
2. John John Florence, Pipeline, Hawaii
This footage was first revealed in John John Florence’s critically acclaimed surf film, “Space”. John John is so deep in this barrel that at first it seems there is no human being on the wave at all. He then triumphantly appears from a high line on the wave and air drops to the base of the wave to continue surfing.
3. Laurie Towner, Cloud Break, Fiji
In 2018, word got out about a once-in-a-lifetime storm to hit Cloud Break in Fiji. A collection of the world’s best surfers descended upon the wave to ride the beast-size swell. While many surfers were being towed into the wave by jet ski, world-renowned big wave surfer from Angourie, Laurie Towner, paddled into this stunner for the ride of a lifetime. The late drop makes this ride all the more incredible.
4. Griffin Colapinto, Back Door, Hawaii
As the name of the break suggests, Griffin enters this barrel from the back door and then has plenty of work to do as the wave continues to shut down in front of him. To make it out of this tube takes skill of the highest level. Check out another angle of the wave on Instagram here.
5. Matahi Drollet, Teahupo’o, Tahiti
With a packed crowd of surfers watching on, local Tahitian, Matahi, takes an unbelievably late and critical drop to get as deep as you can possibly get inside the barrel. This was filmed by photographer, Ryan Moss, and he describes this shot as, “one of the most memorable waves I have captured in my 12 years of documenting surfing”.
6. Kelly Slater, Pipeline, Hawaii
Kelly scored a perfect 10 for this incredibly fast-barreling ride in the Pipeline Masters in 2019. Kelly was 47 years of age when he caught this wave which makes the feat even more astonishing.
7. Peter Mel, Mavericks, USA
Some consider this ride the ‘wave of the decade’ by the 51-year-old surfer at California’s most notorious big wave. The Santa Cruz local has been surfing at Mavericks break for years now and this wave has been hailed by the greats of the surfing world as the best wave caught in the waters off Half Moon Bay.
8. Sebastian Zietz, North Point, Australia
The commentators can’t believe what they’re witnessing as Seb earns a perfect 10 for navigating this long and tight barrel during the Margaret River Pro in WA, Australia.
9. Billy Kemper, Jaws, Hawaii
Billy Kemper essentially takes on Niagara Falls with this absolute beast of a barrel. The bottom turn is so fast and powerful that Billy has to fight to hold his rail in the wave and then quickly sets up the perfect line to shoot straight through the tube. Beautiful to watch!
10. Mick Fanning, Rattle Snake, Unknown Location
This isn’t one wave but rather a series of tubes scored by Mick Fanning in his famous surf film “Ain’t No Wave Pool”. The location of this surf break has not been disclosed but rumours on the internet suggest it’s situated somewhere in sub-saharan Africa on the west coast.
11. Bruce Irons, Waimea Bay, Hawaii
This footage is a little bit grainy but Bruce Irons getting a perfect 100 at The Eddie Aikau was such a special moment. The craziest part of this clip is at the end when Bruce rides the waves all the way to the Waimea shorebreak to pack a hectic close-out.