What happens when there are no waves at all and boredom sets in on a Saturday morning...
Enough of what surf journalism and travel magazines think. What do YOU think? Let's here everyone's personal top 20 (or however many you care to list). Doesn't matter if you've surfed it or not, but keep in mind your favorite sessions and soul surfing hideouts. I'm just interested to see other folks' perspective. Enjoy!
1. Ocean City, MD - so many memories, learned to surf there, I'd take a good hurricane swell with my friends over anywhere on Earth
2. Monterey Bay beachbreaks - don't want to name the exact one because people always get upset, but a great place to spread out, look for Whitey's, get slammed 1000 times, all for that one perfect barrel
3. Umatac Bay, Guam - had one of those "once in a lifetime" sessions there, where you just get lucky, only on the island for two days, and we got perfect lefts and mad aloha from the locals.
4. Rocky Point, HI - great place to surf and hang out, always lots of pro's and locals to watch and learn from while waiting your turn
5. Kaiser's, South Shore HI - must have surfed it 100+ days while living a few blocks away down Ala Wai Blvd., hollow rights, the funny tourist scene, and the occasional Carrissa Moore sighting. She freaking RIPS!
6. 1st St. Jetty, VA Beach - I probably wouldn't ever surf there otherwise, but found myself living in the area and go there all the time now, super fun local scene, and pretty long smooth rights on the proper swell.
7. Newport, RI - only surfed this reef once, but it was so epic. Hollow rights and lefts. I don't want to name the spot, but it's not Ruggles, and I got the feeling most people get run off. Many thanks to the fella's for sharing some waves and not being a-holes, aloha!
8. Irma's, Windward Side, HI - another marginal wave, spent lots of down-time there between the South and North Swells, consistently chest high and choppy but lots of fun, lots of urchins too.
9. Jocko's, HI - got POUNDED here more times than I can remember, but a great place to learn to commit oneself in big surf without too many consequences when you screw things up.
10. Lani'akea, HI - Loooooooong, big rights, big crowds too, but lots of space to move around. Sea turtles, mate. All over the place.
11. Log Cabins, HI - super sketchy and heavy, but patience pays, and you can get some epic barrels without the ridiculous crowds of Pipeline. Albeit not as good a wave, but just as fun on its day.
12. Washout, SC - spent many an afternoon there while stationed in Charleston. Actually gets good pretty often, and the water temp never dips to freaking 30-something like the spots on a little further north.
13. Lighthouse, South Shore, HI - beautiful area, just next to downtown Waikiki, but it still feels like you're in the country because of Diamond Head taking up the whole shoreline.
14. Sunset Beach, HI - really crowded and really heavy, but fun to go take some beatings, get some good ones, then stuff your face at Ted's Bakery.
15. Delaware right-hander - not sure how secret this place is, so I won't name it, but surfed it for the first time last fall. Amazing wave that I didn't even know existed before. Maybe it didn't, who knows.
16. Playa Negra, Costa Rica - really powerful right-hander's, fun to pretend you're back in the Endless Summer on a nice sunny Tico morning.
17. Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica - holds a special place in my heart because it was the first place I ever surfed outside of MD. Great wave, great people and pura vida spirit.
18. Asilomar, CA - not the best spot in the county or even the Monterey Peninsula, but beautiful area and great conditions every so often.
19. Ala Moana - I'd rank it much higher, but it's so hard to get waves that I wouldn't surf it that often even if I had the chance. Really hollow lefts, just mechanical perfection, but so ridiculously packed, even before dawn.
20. Queen's, Waikiki - not a critical wave by any means, but so much friendliness in the water, only place I've ever paddled out and came in with plans for the evening with a previous total stranger. Throw in the Duke statue and the history of Duke, Eddie, and so many other Hawaiian legends, and you can't help but think "thanks so much guys for giving us the gift of riding waves!"
before i start, i enjoyed reading your top 20. but that seems a bit much so i'll name my personal top 10 breaks instead. i've tried to throw some tips in this guide for surfers looking to score them such as best tide, time of year, etc.
1) OB pier, Ocean Beach, San Diego, California
My home break at the moment. It's about 100 footsteps from my computer chair to the pier. Overall, a consistent year-round break that works on any tide.
The south side is mostly reef(rock) with some craters full of sand. The whole setup pulls left but there is an occasional right to backdoor if you really want it. Thicker boards best - the wave tends to be fat and sectiony most of the time but gets hollow on strong swells. The bigger the better here - it can handle triple overhead+ but breaks on any swell with at least some waist-chest+ energy.
The north side is all beachbreak but has the pier to create a unique sandbar. Some powerful, hollow rights on a clean winter morning, while long lefts will pop up in the summertime. Maxes out at around 8' but workable on the smallest of swells and most extreme tides.
2) Sunset Cliffs, Point Loma, San Diego, California
Won't name any breaks specifically, but each wave here is created by some reef(rock) formation. SO many options in this stretch of 30-60 ft cliffs. There's a fun wave breaking here somewhere all year round, and it provides a good escape from the beachbreaks of OB park. Helps to wear boots for the get-in and get-out, though nothing on the reefs here will kill you. It can be difficult barefoot if you are not careful. Low tide generally best for most breaks.
3) Rincon, Carpinteria, California
You've undoubtedly seen Slater or Nicol ripping this pointbreak apart either in videos or real life. A world-class right with the perfect setup on solid WNW-NW swell and north-northwest flow. Heavenly! It is adjacent to the 101 in ventura county, past Oxnard if you're coming from LA, and you can see the whole spectacle while passing by on the freeway. Basically a carnival ride for surfers. Start at the furthest break out and surf your way all the way to the beach on the inside. Tired? It is a quick paddle out through the impact zone. Walk your way along the well-worn trail back to the outside and work your way in again. It never gets old. Wear boots - there are bright green and purple urchins everywhere unless the tide is really full.
4) Carolina Beach, North Carolina
I lived in Raleigh for a couple years and made this drive too many times to remember. Wide beachbreak expanse with options on both sides of the pier. Likes ESE-SE swell. The bar on the top floor of the pier has a great view. Mid-tide best with west flow.
5) Manasquan, New Jersey
I try to at least check this wave every time I fly home to see family. If I have the time I'll paddle out. Maddening in the summer but glorious in the fall/winter. Water gets frigid by late november, but so worth it. The setup is excellent with lines bouncing off the jetty wall and creating hollow rights while magnifying the energy. There's a left too further away from the wall. Will get crowded when on. Inlet outlet is one of the better surf shops in the area.
6) Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz, California
This should probably be higher on my list. Whatevs. This is a playground for all standards of surfers. My uncle took me to the longboarding area on the way inside when I was 3 or 4, and apparently that was my first time ever on a surfboard. Plenty of options from the lighthouse all the way to the wharf. Waves on any tide. Crowded as! Seals everywhere. A protected spot; can handle massive NW swell and onshores (west flow). Not uncommon to be DOH+ and blown out at Ocean Beach Park in SF while perfect, clean, and head+ here. Generally more rippable closer to the lighthouse. Sharp reef in the impact zones on lower tides, and long bundles of kelp to get snagged on everywhere. Many of the locals do not wear leashes.
7) Redondo Breakwater (B-Wall), Hermosa Beach, California
The best wave between Manhattan Beach and Palos Verdes, if you ask me. At the north end of King Harbor, or the southernmost point of Hermosa Beach. Right in front of the Chart House. A heavy left created by the jetty wall. Best on lower tides, and NW swell. Fun when 2-6' - but this spot is notorious for being one of the only beachbreaks in the South Bay that can handle real wintertime juice. I've seen makeable barrels here on solid DOH+ swell. A good bodyboarding setup can be found at the next peak over, just north from here. Gets unbearably crowded on any swell offering 4'+ peaks. Follow the parking regulations as the pigs frequent this area to hand out tickets.
8) OB Jetty, Ocean Beach, San Diego, California
One of the best summertime options between La Jolla and Imperial Beach. Slightly Stoopid (a reggae band from OB) used a cartoon drawing of this spot for the cover of their album, The Longest Barrel Ride. NW swells will wrap around into here but the setup is best on SW swell and NE flow. Winter waves smaller than everywhere else while summer waves are magnified into hollow rights that can connect all the way to the dog beach. Respect the locals or get squeezed out of the takeoff zone. Gets really heavy on rare strong south pulses. Water quality is toxic after any kind of rainfall. Impact zone is a shallow shelf of sand but paddle to the jetty wall for safe haven.
9) Angourie Point, New South Wales, Australia
A right-hand pointbreak that loves SE swell, West flow, and low tide. An absolutely beautiful area of the world, this point is positioned in front of a small lagoon between the quirky town of Yamba and the breathtaking Yuraygir national park. Uncrowded, swell magnifying bliss.
10) Duranbah (D-Bah), Tweed Heads, New South Wales, Australia
A consistent, heavy, hollow beachbreak just around the point from Queensland and the ASP tour stop Snapper Rocks. One of Mick Fanning's favorite breaks, D-Bah almost always breaks bigger than its Gold Coast counterparts. Fun, rippable rights from the jetty wall on the south end of the beach. Lots of bodyboarders on the inside. Spread out; there's peaks all up & down this small stretch of beach.
If you read this, thanks! I hope it was at least a little insightful without stepping on any toes
Last edited by steamfed; Apr 28, 2010 at 11:13 PM.
Reason: had to make the headers bold