Pull out a map, bust open the piggybank, pack your bags and get ready for some life-altering waves. For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we take you back eight years to Zag Issue 30.8 (2006), in which we featured this guide to some of the best spots on this spinning blue planet.
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The grand-daddy of must-surf waves, Pipeline still occupies a place in every surfer’s psyche whether they’ve been there or never even vaguely sniffed it. Stretching over a series of three reefs and breaking so close to the beach you feel the ground tremble before you’ve even see it, it’s a wave that still has the ability to make any surfer dream about surfing it all their lives then soil themselves properly when they do. Early season sees it thick, heavy, crowded and unpredictable with the sand build-up from summer still lurking over the reef. Late season sees it thick, heavy, slightly less crowded and more perfect. The locals demand serious respect, the crowds can be horrendous and the wallopings even worse. But catch one good wave here and you can consider yourself complete, pilgrim.
What: The quintessential gaping left-hand barrel-of-your-life.
Where: Like, North Shore of Oahu, haole.
Why: The wave, the energy, the experience…all of it.
Bring: A very healthy respect for Mother Nature.
Beware: Thinking you’ve got it down – as soon as you do, the wave or crowd will humble you.
(No.2 & 3: Deep into the bundus somewhere between nowhere and completely lost, you’ll find Australia’s Red Bluff. Alternatively check out France’s La Gravierre)
(4 & 5: A quick drive up north of KZN lies Mozambique’s Point of Gold. Slightly further is Fiji’s infamous Tavarua)
(6 & 7: Crack a Corona at Mexico’s Puerto Escondido, or take a trek to the Superbank “on the Goldy, mate”)
7. THE SUPERBANK
Not only do the Aussies have some of the best setups in the world, but then they go along and accidentally-on-purpose create an even better wave with a sand dredging scheme. This two kilometre long sandbank is the result of the good sports at the Gold Coast municipality pumping out tons of sand from the Tweed Rivermouth, which then gets perfectly sculpted into a rainbow arc linking the points from Snapper Rocks to Kirra. The result: a brain-melting wave that spits, gurgles, fizzes and pops as long as your legs can carry you. Triple tube rides are not uncommon, along with about a gazillion turns per wave by the crew of locals, which only includes, like, half of the Top 14. Along with any man-made creation though, there’s the chance of creating a monster and in this case it’s the crowd: try snagging a wave with about 200 of your good friends out. If you do though, start whistling like a train-conductor on crack and get ready for the express ride of your life.
What: Man-made miracle wave. This is what all our taxes should go towards building.
Where: On the Goldy mate, on the Goldy.
Why: So you can tell your grandkids one day about the 17-second tube you snatched off Mick Fanning and the Japanese mal rider you rode over to get it.
Bring: Your sense of humour.
Beware: The Ozone Layer is something they talk about in the past tense Down Under, and you’re going to be catching a lot more sun than waves.
(8, 9 & 10: For the more adventurous traveller, score Desert Point off Lombok, Lance’s Right in the Mentawais, or Safi, Morocco)
(11, 12 & 13: No excuses for not having surfed Supertubes. We’ll let you off for these other two: St Leu, Reunion and Majestics in the Philippines)
You’re most likely over people crapping on about how Supers is the best right you’ll ever surf, seeing as though they’ve been saying the same thing for about twenty years. Only thing is, it’s still true. From the grinding Boneyards take-off, into the clichéd endless-wall right through the Carpark section, into Impossibles and even further, few waves rifle off with the machine-like precision of a Supers freight train. Probably the thing that really sets the wave apart is the variety it offers through all these sections, from speeding high-lines, open faces to carve up, big-hit sections and some of the deepest tubes around, few spots can claim an all round canvas like this while going as fast as you probably ever will on a surfboard without your knees disintegrating.
What: Like the names says, super tubes, and so much more.
Where: Jeffreys Bay, South Africa.
Why: To see what all the fuss is about as you scratch into the fastest, longest wave of your life.
Bring: Serious rubber for winter – with the SW offshore wind coming off the snow-capped interior mountains, it gets colder than a polar bear’s naught.
Beware: Missing the keyhole coming in and being forced to do your best impression of a dancing starfish over the razor-sharp rocks while everyone in the carpark has a good laugh.
(14 & 15: Go jol at “La Jolla” in Mexico, amigo! Or feast your eyes on something lekker in Mundaka)
(16: Macaronis, Mentawais – the quintessential surf dream)
When God decided to make a skate park for surfers, he made Maccas. This roping Mentawai left tops many lists as the funnest, do-anything wave on the planet. With non-stop sections coming at you, it’s a wave designed for hitting, pulling in, boosting or turning as hard as you can while it cracks onto the reef and spins into the bay. Although it starts to get serious over six-foot, Macaronis is known as the performance wave of the islands and you can usually cut loose without the consequences of some of the other heavier spots in the area. Be warned though: once you’ve unleashed on a juicy Maccas wall, you’ll never want to leave. Ever.
What: Left hand point-reef combo that’s so much fun it should be illegal.
Why: The closest you’ll ever get to feeling like you can surf as good as a top 44 pro.
Bring: All your worldly possessions so that you can jump ship and surf here for life…or just a few good boards for ripping otherwise.
Beware: Burning your friends because you’re just frothing out so bad.