Posts Tagged ‘spot of the week’
April 27th, 2011
In the last couple of days Rip Curl have announced that the latest round of the Rip Curl Search will be held at Ocean Beach in San Francisco in November. Looking forward to seeing how the world’s best attack the chilly waters. Here’s our rundown of this spot.
Ocean Beach: San Fransisco’s town beach, in the Sunset District.
Superb quality, sometimes heavy, sucking, dredging beach-break with fangs. This is a truly excellent spot, but it regularly dishes out floggings and broken boards. On a 4-12ft (& holds up to 20ft) day with clean groundswell from almost any direction, one or more of the banks will deliver vertical take-offs, wide barrels and crazed races for the shoulder. Crowded and near parking lots. Constant duck diving, ruthless currents and dead sharks can wash up on the beach. All this against the latte-sipping backdrop of California’s most sophisticated city.
December 20th, 2010
Head North from Haleiwa on the Kam Hwy, you’ll see the bay and the church. The parking lot is just before the bridge.
Waimea Bay: Justly famed big wave arena, ridden from 6-30ft plus. Waimea proper is a right hand parachute drop monster breaking on a 28ft deep reef ledge. Not the world’s longest wave, but perhaps the most exhilarating drop anywhere, followed by a massive wall section and probable annihilation by the foam ball.
Watch sets for at least 20 minutes before jump-off. Ask the lifeguards about the swell forecast; they will have incredibly accurate info from the wave buoy, and will be able to tell you when the swell will peak and how big that will be. There is even a pressure pad by Kaena Point, that gives a few minutes warning if a 30ft plus set is approaching. Wave size can increase from 8 to 20ft in a few hours.
Getting in: wait for a lull, then get in by running down the bank by the rocks at the Northern end and jumping / paddling like crazy. Keep right, the current will sweep you left into the channel. Too far left and you could be in the horrid dumpers at the South end.
Getting out: get a wave, then try to ride the foam ball back into the North end to beat the sweep and hug the rocks. This is your best bet at escaping the shore break, which is at its most spine-snapping in the middle of the bay. Watch the approaching shore break and try to get in on the back of the last wave of the set.
Crowds. Drop-ins. Experts only. If in any doubt, stay on the beach. On smaller days, Pinballs is an option on the inside. Shore break is notorious and menacing, although occasionally surfable.
December 13th, 2010
Home of the Pipe Masters since 1971 (won by Wavefinder editor in chief Larry Blair in 1978 & 1979) and possibly one of the most photographed surf spots on the planet, Pipeline on Oahu’s North Shore is regarded as the world’s deadliest wave. At the Southern end of Ehukai Beach Park, going north from Waimea about 2 miles, down a small alley on the left before Sunset Beach Elementary.
Pipeline: Probably the squarest barrel on earth, when it’s on. Pipe needs trades, and the right swell (W to NW at 4-25ft) to work properly. Take one of these away and you can have a shapeless, punishing mess. The rule of thumb is; the more west the swell, the heavier and hollower the wave.
Pipeline is a series of 3 reefs working from the inside to the outside as the swell increases. First Reef: At 4ft you can have the most perfect barrels followed by a short whack-able section here. The crowds at this size will frustrate, and the dropping in is blatant. The wave is so close to the beach that spectators can get closer to the action than any other surf spot. At 6-8ft the peak appears close to dry sucking off the reef and the drop is free fall. A mistake could see you jammed into a crack in the lava reef, but successful riders will make the bottom turn and stand tall in a super-wide almond shaped barrel. Then it’s a speed race out onto the shoulder, which eventually tapers into a sandy channel.
Second Reef: From 10-12ft plus, another crop of lava pushes up bombs another 100 yards out to sea. These can be mountainous jacking peaks which reform on first reef giving 2 rides in 1. Take-offs here are more critical than any wave anywhere. Timing, commitment and a heavy board are essential to manoeuvre into the elusive time-space window between being pushed over the back by the gusty winds funnelling up the face, and too-late drops straight to the bottom. The entire length of the wave is a full-power situation, with the lip ready to cut a surfer down at any moment, and even the latter half of the ride can produce truck-sized barrels. There’s an occasional Third Reef too, for monsters up to a much contested 30 feet. Now a tow-in domain and quite rare to see it perfect.
Paddle out fast, West of Backdoor. Current will sweep you East of the peak into the channel. Crowds to the extreme. Drop-ins are the rule not the exception. Frustrated caged battery-chicken surfing. Experts only.
Backdoor: The right off the same peak as first reef, is an equally if not more heavy tube machine, with even more shallow reef and rocks to contend with. Backdoor tubes often end in shut-down or dry-suck and the successful surfer will make speed his friend. No time for turns here. Works on similar swells, although likes more North than Pipe itself. Too much West in the swell, or too much size and it will be a dangerous close-out. From 3-10ft. Crowded to the extreme. Drop-ins from body boarders and surfers better than you! Shallow reef with deep cracks to get stuck in. Current, thick guillotine lips.
Both these waves have claimed lives, and may be best experienced vicariously. Try to catch them early if late season or you may not get a single wave.
For a view from inside the barrel, checkout this clip featuring Anthony Walsh
November 25th, 2010
Sunset: Set of reefs dealing with swells from North through West. Northerly swells break the wave up into different peaks and make the place a little more sharing as a result. On a classic big west swell with trades, Sunset is a heavy, jacking peak that develops into a hollow, sucky, thick lipped beast. These swells catch the trades side off-shore, and the result means heavy longboards and serious intent are required to get you into the wave. 4-15ft. Major rips, crowds, experts only.
Sunset Point: Further inside is a quality right breaking at 3-6ft on NW-W swells. It can lose shape on north swells. Crowds, intermediate.
Just East is Backyards: fickle, often shifty proposition that goes left and right, and works from 4-12ft. Currents and unpredictable peaks absorb surfers well. Experts or tow-in.
Finally, Outside Sunset: Huge right tow-in spot when Sunset is closed out. Can work all the way through Outside Backyards, which is a right / left outer monster too, with a shallow reef under the end sections. Hell men only!
November 11th, 2010
Haleiwa: Head north up the Kam Hwy to Haleiwa. Left turn into town towards the harbour. When it’s on, it is one of the heaviest, fastest, hollowest rights imaginable. The main peak is about 300m out to sea, and the wave forms heavy sections all the way across to a shallow close-out spot (Toilet Bowl). Best at 6-8ft with prevailing Northeast trades and Northwest to West swell. When bigger, can get very rippy and bumpy, but quality is possible up to 10-20ft plus. Watch locals paddle out to gauge current and best route. Flirt into the zone to get your wave, then hang wide between sets. Beginners can check the inside shore break. Crowds, crazy in winter. Experts only, unless small.
Avalanche: is a big wave arena several hundred yards further out. Lefts up to 30ft plus are not uncommon in winter. Tow-in spot except Dec-May (Whale season). Unreliable end section means that floggings are common, even if you make the intial drop. Moving peak means contant paddling to re-position, and outside bombs are a constant risk (an Avalanche of water on your head). Experts only.
November 4th, 2010
Originally better known as a fishing spot than a surf spot, Snapper is now probably the most crowded wave in all of Australia. Thanks to a project that began back in 1995 clearing sand from the entrance to the Tweed River, it’s now possible to ride a wave from Snapper all the way down to Kirra … rare, but possible! Probably one of the reasons you’ll find the likes of Parko and Mick Fanning at this spot, when they’re not travelling the globe with the ASP World Tour.
Here’s our take on the wave that helps to kick off the ASP season every year at the Quiksliver Pro:
Snapper Rocks: the start point of the longest right-hand barrel machine on earth. The Snapper section gets more swell than Kirra, often delivering a hard-breaking take-off, leading to a makeable tube section and race-track. Can link up across Rainbow and Greenmount for record breaking shack time. Current is mad so get a wave quick and walk back up the beach. Advanced. Crowds … Ah Yeah!!
September 16th, 2010
Just north of the San Onofre State Beach, adjacent to the train trestle is one of the world’s best surfing arenas. Breaks run continuously from San Mateo Point to San Onofre State Beach.
Cotton’s: Lined up left-hander, good in big south to southwest swells. Breaks over cobblestone and sand bottom on any tide, but lower is hollower. Holds 2-12ft plus, all levels.
Upper Trestles (Uppers): Superb quality, long (mostly) right-hand cobblestone point wave. Works best on a wrapped northwest to west winter swell at higher tides, when there will be multi-second barrels firing down the beach towards San Mateo Creek. It’ll work well on south swell too though. Any tide is OK, 2-10ft plus. All levels. Best in winter … generally. Crowded with mini-tankers.
Lowers: Left and right cobblestone peak. Long rights in winter swells from NW, awesome fast peak left and rights in summer south swells. Generally both left and rights have 3 sections, with the first (outside) being more hollow. Rights are often longer/lined up, and longer than Uppers. Lefts punchy with good channel to paddle back from. Any tide is OK, but low tide plus summer swell and morning offshore = hollow green barrels at high speed. 2-15ft, very crowded. Usually better than Uppers in summer, and vice versa for winter.
Down from here in Middles: Mellow right-left summer peak, needing northeast winds and any swell. All tides, although low is better as it can be a mush-burger at the best of times. If your surfing isn’t working here, either get a new board or a coach.
September 9th, 2010
On its day, Freshwater West is one of the best waves in all of the UK and can hold waves up to 6ft. Works best with swell from the west and an east/northeasterly wind.
It picks up the most swell in Pembrokeshire, with several sandbar peaks on the main beach and reefs. Very consistent, therefore gets very busy. When it gets too big here, most people head off elsewhere in the area. There are very strong rips so watch out (a few swimmers have drowned here in the past, so take the warnings seriously). There are various peaks on the rocks (check the south end). It’s just off a big army firing range! Intermediate / advanced surfers only.
September 2nd, 2010
From Orlando, take Hwy 50 to I-95 and head south. Turn off on the 192 to Indialantic then south on A1A for about 30 mins to the North Jetty at the Inlet.
Sebastian Inlet has the potential to be Florida’s best wave, but conditions have to be right. An often great right peels off the northern jetty edge over sand bottom with a few stray boulders. In big swells at any tide, it is possible to get a fast, grinding, double overhead barrel with a thick lip and real power. Always crowded with aggressive wired-in locals. It likes a lower tide with highs creating back-offs and brutal back-wash. The next section of the wave keeps firing towards the beach, and with more north in the swell, can incorporate quality lefts. More peaks up the beach, in particular an often closed out but sometimes great left-hander on winter swells. Shifty peaks though and it often simple does not look like the same place you see in the magazines.
Way off the end of the south jetty is an off-shore sandbar, Monster Hole. It is thus named after the men in grey that frequent the area, particularly after heavy rains. Not all fishermen like to see surfers around, and are only too happy to throw fish entrails into the water on their way home, making this a feeding zone. N-NE swells and low incoming tides get huge lefts working. These run for yards and yards, and the more north the swell, the more lined up they are. It is a long paddle out there in greeny brown water, and not seeing the bottom merely adds to the sensation that you’re out of your element. The sweep pulls you off target when it’s big, so rubber-arms are common. More east/southeast swell get the rights happeneing. These can be good and fast, or just plain old bumpy. Scary, isolated spot, full of sharks with very strong currents. Can handle anything from 3-15ft if swell is north. Advanced. Semi consistent.
Here’s more info on surf spots in the USA & Hawaii.
August 26th, 2010
Just over 60 miles from Swansea and about 15 minutes along the A487 from Haverfordwest and you’ll find Newgale.
There are many peaks up and down Newgale Sands with several car parks and good facilities. A bit of a swell magnet, therefore very consistent. Best on the dropping tide. Mild currents. On the pebbles at high tide, but can be surfable at the south end. Copes well with its fairly relaxed crowd. Something for al standards here.
Penycwm has a sucky, hollow right that works for a few hours on the climbing tide at the north end of Newgale Sands, below the cliffs. Beware of the fast climbing tide on the rocks. Mainly locals, only holds a small crowd. Intermediate / Advanced.
There are plenty of other options in this area for the intrepid, so get out there and explore!