Top 5 Ticket to Ride Trips to Get BarreledWant to get tubed on a Ticket to Ride trip? Here's the best of the bunch.

Max Hepworth-Povey


7 months ago in Surf

If the Ticket to Ride Tube Master Chris Bond’s article on how to get barreled has turned your mind into a mess of magical cylindrical water tunnels that are consuming your every thought, do not worry, me too. It is a completely natural wholesome addiction that will stay with you forever.

But now you know the theory on how to get barreled, the next logical thought to spend the hours daydreaming away is where to get barreled. Luckily for the reader and less so for my employers I’ve spent the past decade drifting the globe in search of my next tube and coming from a barrel barren land (Cornwall, UK) have sought out destinations that offer relatively forgiving, consequence-free kegs. So here are my top 5 beginner’ish barrels (in no real order).

1. Banyaks Boat Trip

Have you ever heard of the Banyak Islands? Nope, didn’t think so. This archipelago of 99 islands is off the western coast of Sumatra, Indonesia and only 7 of these islands are inhabited. The region is undeveloped and tourists are few and far between. This really is the picture-postcard tropical island surfers paradise with skies as blue as those from the past and waves spinning relentless barrels down the line for days, which for reasons unknown to us are a little friendlier than the tubes found in it’s Indonesian neighbours shores. You will get so barrelled in the Banyaks you may even come back without a tan. Get barrelled in the Banyaks.

2. Sri Lanka Coast to Coast Tour

Sri Lanka is known as a mellow version of Indo, which is justified, but there are some slabs around if you know where to look including Ram’s Right, in Midigama on the South West Coast, a wave we take advanced riders only. As Chris mentions in his How To blog, to get tubed the main trait you need to posses is courage, which applies very much when surfing Ram’s. The swell appears to come out of nowhere, hit the reef, jack up then barrel over itself. It’s a pull straight in type tube and forgiving if you have confidence in yourself. But you do have to pull straight in, as if you don’t you are left taking a steep drop to nothing, which is quite frustrating. Once you’ve got it dialled it is misleadingly simple.

If the SW Coast slab seems a bit intimidating, the right hand point breaks in Arugam Bay will get you going. One of the sand bottom points we take our guests to peels for about 500m with several forgiving tube sections along the way. Get slotted in Sri Lanka.

3. Indonesia Island Hopping

Padang Padang, Racetracks and Impossible’s are world-class barrels throwing pro surfers out of spitting tubes all day every day, but this doesn’t mean you can’t get your fix. If you head to Bingin you will be pleasantly surprised by a barreling wave, which has a roll in take off followed by an all to easy tube to pull into. Again you need to be courageous, but more so on the exit as I found out once when slotted in a turquoise gem one day in my formative surfing years. I was absorbing the beauty of the cylindrical tunnel around me to momentarily forget that I was traveling across a rather sharp reef and this lapse of concentration encouraged instant panic and so I stupidly bailed (when I should have just tried to at least come out of it) then got sent into said reef, snapping my board and giving me a painful memento of an beautiful memory. Get barrelled at Bingin.

4. South Africa Instructor Course 

Kalk Bay reef or “the Reef” as the locals (Chris) call it is notorious in South Africa as one of the best reef breaks in the country. This again is a slab like Ram’s but with a lot more grunt. Unlike Ram’s the entry to the barrel is actually easier, as you really have to backdoor into it, but it takes serious courage (or blind ignorance). Like Ram’s if you try and take off in the peak you’ll get lip-launched straight onto the one of the hungry sea urchins waiting for you on the shallow reef. This isn’t on the itinerary of our South Africa trip, but if you really, really are keen and show the necessary skill level Chris might just take you there for a few headdips…

If this sounds hideous, riders on the ten week Instructor Course will surf so many different waves whilst gaining coaching from the best in the game getting tubed is inevitable.

Get slotted in South Africa

5. Bordeaux to Bilbao Cycle Surfari

Like most beach breaks, the low tide drainers at Hossegor can and will close out, but they can also barrel like hell, properly and frequently and if you know which ones to go on and which ones to leave (a close out isn’t too hard to spot), you’re in for the tube of your life. The Atlantic Ocean send swell into the Bay of Biscay which has often traveled thousand of miles and is greeted by a sudden shelf of sand which creates these world class tubes. My favourite and in my opinion the most user friendly barrel on offer in this area is actually in Capbreton at ‘VVF’. I’m saying this complete bias as it is where I got my first proper tube. It was a magical moment when I was about 19, I was braced in the pig dog position, had the vision, didn’t need to do anything and then came out. It was great, I remember it like it was yesterday. Get kegged in Capbreton.