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How to Approach a New Break - Steps 7-10 (out of 10) Photo by @jason_wolcott_photography 7. Reefs: Do they pose a danger? This factor correlates to the previous observation points. Do the tides go low enough that the reefs now become an exposed obstacle? Several areas of the world have a severe enough tide change that areas that are cover with water could be exposed over a matter of a few hours. What you easily glided over on your way out is now exposed coral keeping you from getting all the way back to the beach. Where there any channels? If so, do they still exist? Has the lowing tide exposed the reef enough that it has increased the strength of the current in these channels so much that you won’t be able to use them to get in? If you think you might need to walk on the reef, reef booties are a great idea. Remember, the ocean is a constantly changing entity, keep an eye on what its doing. Being aware of your changing surroundings could save your life. 8. Trust your equipment: If your facing a session that if things go wrong they are going to go “really wrong”, perhaps its best that you fix that slow bladder leak, or replace that worn chicken loop and that line with a knot in it. 9. Know your escape route: Even if you can’t emulate all of James Bonds charisma and charm, you should at least adopt one of his tactics. If (and when), everything goes wrong, using all the previous factors that you’ve assessed, have a plan of retreat on how you are going to make sure that you will make it back to shore under your own power. “It’s always good until it isn’t.” 10. Is the juice worth the squeeze? Now that you have everything assessed, you know the conditions, you feel its safe to go out you and have your back up plans in case everything goes wrong; imagine everything going wrong and are the rewards of the potential session really worth the possible consequences. Remember, “If in doubt, don’t go out!” For more information on ocean safety… Check out the Hawaii Lifeguard Association’s recommendations on what to do when things do go wrong. http://oceansafety.ancl.hawaii.edu/safety/