Surfing looks easy. Wait, let me rephrase that. Some people make surfing look easy. In reality, it is a complex sport, because there are many factors to take into account when you’re riding a wave. First, you have to master the balance and the mechanics. Then you have to adjust to what the ocean is doing. Ocean conditions are always changing and every wave breaks differently.
How do the pros make it look so easy? Two words: wave knowledge. With all the hours racked up in the water, advanced surfers can read and adjust to the changing conditions. And it takes HOURS and practice. Practice that may or may not always be quality…wrong wind direction or just lack of waves. The fact is that a wave never breaks the same way twice so trying to practice one specific thing in a session might possibly be very frustrating. And to think that back when I used to call myself a baller (basketball player) shooting between 500-1,000 shots a day in the gym was a task! The hoop never moved on me!
So today let’s chat about about waves. We know, you thought a wave was just a wave… In my last Surf Science post (thanks to the handy-dandy research I do for MI OLA) I talked about how waves are made. Now I am going to cover WHERE they break – different types of surf breaks. There are 3 main types: Beach breaks, Point Breaks and Reef Breaks.
Beach: These breaks are waves that break on sand. Wave shape, size, and peak location at beach breaks can vary significantly from day to day as the sand shifts. This type of wave is the best to start surfing on because of the sandy bottom. If you hit bottom, you won’t get hurt by a reef or a rock! Some of our favorite beach breaks are Playa Avellanas and Rockaway.
Point: Point breaks are simply areas where waves break on a section of land that juts out from shore. When swells come from the right direction, they will wrap around these points to create epic waves. Some of the most consistent spots in the world, with the best-shaped waves and the longest rides, are point breaks. My favorite point break is Ollie’s Point, otherwise known as mi novio…my boyfriend.
Reef: Reef breaks are waves that break on shelves of rock or coral. Unlike beach breaks, reef breaks are much more consistent in terms of wave shape and peak location. Most importantly for surfers, reefs can create phenomenal waves. Reef breaks are recommended for advanced surfers since the wave is breaking over rock or coral. Famous reef breaks are Pipeline in Hawaii and Teahupo’o.
Ok one more….Rivermouth: Since the Tamarindo Rivermouth is my home break, I couldn’t leave out this break. A Rivermouth break can have lefts and rights, and can break on all tides….sweet!!!! It can be a sandy bottom or rocky bottom, and here in Costa Rica there may be one or two crocodiles in the lineup with you! Eeek!