"There are many scary things about big-wave surfing. But perhaps what captures people’s imagination (and fears) the most is the prospect of being “caught inside.” It’s the avalanche dilemma: What do you do when a forty- foot wall of whitewater is about to mow you over? Run? Stay put? Let out a faint cry for help? In this case, it’s dive as deeply as you can in the few seconds you have. Unfortunately, these avalanches run deep, extending fingers of turbulence to depths up to twenty feet under a fifty- to sixty-foot wave. Make it below those fingers and it’s as tranquil as a swimming pool. Get caught, and you’ll be tossed around like a toddler in a tornado, released only when the wave decides to let you go. Even worse? Gasping to the surface and facing another one right behind it."
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