excellent question..... personally I've never made it out of a barrel. I surf Long Island and northern New jersey and on those rare days that its barreling its mostly close-outs. I have no problem commiting and taking it like a man. No guts no glory.. I guess we need some points or reefs to make it out the black hole..
depends. in the summer I will pull into anything no matter what really and no care. when the water gets cold I get a lot more selective and I usually straighten out on closeouts. it depends on the wave though, so its all about water time
*I still go for it in the winter, I'm more careful. I usually go through the back of the wave when it closes out whilst im in the barrel. skeet skeet skeet
closeout vs section is only a matter of how fast you are going.
Wave selection is key. Before you commit to a wave, you should at least be sure that you can pull in and catch a safe line. You have to pay to play, no guts no glory, don't hold back, BUT, pulling into a sh*t sandwich is just stupid. About half way through my bottom turn, I judge how hard to turn back up the wave based on a quick assessment of the line. If I can see it getting really vertical I shoot up and take the high line, always faster and an easier out. If it's all under control, I stay low and try to get pitted.
Down the line speed and rail control are also critical. Once you are up and racing the wave, a section / closeout should be your ramp or bank! If I am riding the high line, and I know my section is coming, I have a choice now- I can stay high and try to race it, I can go back off the bottom and drive into the section, or, I can say "eff that" and cleanly turn out the back. It's like skiing / snowboarding- the faster you go, the easier it is. If you are going slow or are off balance and you see that section coming, well, then you should read these other posts about how to take a pounding.
Hope that helped, I'm getting older and I enjoy getting my sh*t packed less and less....
This makes me realize that after 20 plus years of surfing, I still pretty much suck.