Sometimes it will happen that you cannot get far enough out in time to meet these big seas at the proper point; and then it is that your reputation as a surf-man will be in danger, at least among those who judge by success alone. There is only one thing to do: dive under the foam as it boils toward you - dive deep and swim hard. The wave and the "undertow' will be here commingled in a sort of whirlpool, and you will need all your strength and skill to keep "head on." Suffer yourself to be twisted but a few inches from your course, and - but doubtless you understand.
There is a rather amusing way of playing with the surf on days when it is fairly high, but thin, and without much force. Instead of diving as the breaker commences to comb, throw yourself over backward, and allow your feet to be carried up into its crest. Provided you have judged its strength accurately, and given yourself just enough back somersault impetus, you will be turned completely over in the wave (Figs. 4 and 5), and strike with it, and upon your feet; only, be careful in picking out your plaything, and don't select one that will pound you into the sand, or perhaps refuse to regulate the number of somersaults according to your wishes or intentions.
Now, it is more than possible that, being a good swimmer, and having first made personal trial of both beach and surf, you may desire to offer your escort to - well, to your sister; and right here let me note a few preliminary cautions: -
Never attempt to take a woman into the surf where there is any reason for an experienced surfman to anticipate a sea which, unaccompanied, you would have any difficulty in meeting; or
When the water in the ditch is more than breast-deep; or
When the "undertow" or "set" is especially strong; or
When there is any irregularity of the beach which might cause a "sea-poose" to form.
You may also find it wise to observe the following: pleasant and humiliating when met alone, is trebly so in company.
Never take a woman outside the lifelines, and never promise her, either expressly or by implication, that you will not let her hair get wet. Above all, impress it upon her that she must do exactly as you say, that a moment's hesitation due to timidity or lack of confidence, or, worse than all, anything like panic, or an attempt to break from you and escape by flight, is likely to precipitate a disaster which, un-
And now, having read your lecture on the duty of obedience, etc., lead on. Of course, if the water deepens gradually and the surf is very light, you may go beyond the breakers; but in that event no skill is called for, and no suggestions needed.
There are several good ways of holding a woman in the surf, but the best and safest in every emergency is that shown in Fig. 6. You thus stand with your left and her right side toward the ocean; and as the wave rises before you, your companion should, at the word, spring from the sand, while at the same moment you swing her around with all your force, and throw her backward into the advancing breaker (Fig. 7). You will observe that your own feet are always firmly planted on the bottom, the left foot about twelve inches advanced, and your body and shoulders thrown forward, so as to obtain the best brace against the shock of the water. The question of preserving your equilibrium is largely one of proper balancing, especially when, as is often the case, you are carried from your foothold, and borne some yards toward the shore. Your companion's weight and impetus, as well as the position in which she strikes the wave, - that is, directly in front of you, - all tend to make your anchorage more secure, or, in case of losing it, your balance the easier to maintain. The body of the wave will, of course, pass completely over you (as shown in Fig. 8). The instant it has so passed, and your head emerges, clear your eyes, regain your position (you will practically drop into it again), and if carried shoreward, press out to the proper point, so as to be ready for the next.
Should an exceptionally heavy sea roll in, endeavor to push forward to meet it as if you were alone, being very careful, however, not to get out of depth. Flight is almost always disastrous. If the sea strikes before you can reach it, there is nothing to do but bend your head and shoulders well forward, brace yourself as firmly as possible, and thus, presenting the least surface for the water to take hold of, and getting the full benefit of the "undertow," swing your companion (who has also bent low and thrown herself forward) horizontally under the broken wave (Fig. 9). If she has had much experience, it will be still better for you to dive together, side by side.
Before dropping this branch of the subject, I will call attention briefly to another way of carrying a woman through the surf. Let her stand directly in front of and facing you (as shown in Fig. 10). Standing thus, she springs, and is pushed backward through the wave somewhat as in the former instance (Fig. 11). The disadvantages of this method are: First, that you lose in impetus by pushing rather than swinging your companion; second, that she cannot herself see what is coming; third, that neither is in as convenient a position to hurry forward to meet an exceptionally heavy wave; and fourth, that you have not as good a hold in case a sea breaks before it reaches you, or any other emergency arises.