Popular Science

Surfing’s big break

ONE OF THE BEST SURF SPOTS in the United States to practice aerial tricks is in central Texas, some 200 miles from the Gulf Coast. On a brisk December day at the BSR Surf Resort, Caroline Marks was ripping a front-side air reverse. Aquamarine water sloshed off the concrete rear wall of the wave pool as she pumped down the line and flew off the crest of a head-high breaker into a clockwise spin. She grabbed the rail of her board as she came around and landed with a splash, sunlight glinting off the spray. She looked like she was having a blast.

The 18-year-old Californian has ridden in artificial lagoons before, but this was her first time at BSR. It features an oncoming white-water section perfectly suited to her signature explosive maneuvers. Surfable waves roll through with metronomic precision, as many as 150 an hour. “There aren’t always opportunities for people to do airs in the ocean, but at Waco there is, over and over again,” Marks says, grinning with characteristic excitement. She and three of her brothers spent the day here, one-upping each other into the evening under the glare of stadium lights. “One hundred percent, it was so much fun,” she says.

Luke and Zach Marks introduced their younger sister to wave riding when she was 8 and the family lived in Florida. Even now, she loves shredding with them. The week before their session in Waco, she finished the World Surf League championship tour ranked second internationally, behind Carissa Moore,

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