I have heard pros say the safest place is inside the barrel. Sometimes you pop right out the back and miss the impact of the lip. You never want to dive in front of your board.
alot of the time they relate that towards bigger waves, i watched a teahupoo documentary and they say ( i think it was andy irons?) the only reason why people don't die there as much as they should is because the wave breaks so large and onto a hard reef it creates a massive cushion of air when the wave breaks, which keeps you safe...... im sorry but a 40 ft cushion of water just seems terrifying.
This is by far the best advice I have ever read on this forum.
Personally, I just punch through the back like others are sayin. Or eat it. I had a great one at Ponto a couple of weeks back where I rolled along the bottom for a while. Hooray for sand and deep water.
i learned about the hawiian dive from a similar thread last year on this site...all you do is bottum turn as sharp as you can, using the momentum to dive through the face of the wave. if you do it with out speed, you might have to do a stroke or two so the passing wave doesnt catch you by the feet and suck you back down...it's a safe and effective move, and i get better at it everytime i do it.... if i can find the old thread ill post it, because someone shared some nice example videos of Kelly doing it.