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Different Types of Waves Beginner
Surfers Must Know

When you are planning to surf for the first time, several factors will contribute to your surfing experience.

As a newbie, catching multiple waves, pulling off come tricks, and having a good time are all you can think of. Keep in mind that the ocean is a dangerous place and one wrong move can lead to a serious injury.

Types of Waves

Before you embark on your surf trip, make sure that you have taken surfing lessons from experienced surfers who have studied the water inside and out. is a great surf program that can help improve your surf knowledge and skill. 

Since waves travel thousands of miles, they usually keep increasing in size until they break or hit land. When surfing you must understand the different surf breaks as each of them are suitable for different types of surfers. 

There are four main types of surf breaks:

Beach Breaks 

These types of waves are most popular for novice surfers as they break over-sand. These waves are not fixed to a location as they are liable to change. When the sand and the seabed shift, the quality of the beach break changes as well. These changes often disappear in a few weeks or stay for months. 

These sandbank waves vary according to the time of the year as they will either be long and gentle waves or hollow and powerful. Even though these swells are liable to change, certain breaches have consistent beach breaks such as La Gravière (France), Nazaré (Portugal), Puerto Escondido (Mexico), and so on. 

Reef Breaks

Reef Breaks 

These waves break over rock bottom, coral reefs, or over cobblestones. A reef break occurs when an obstruction arises from the seabed floor causing swells to peak out into a plunging wave. In this wave, the seabed remains the same but the direction and the size of the wave can switch. 

Reef waves are quite unpredictable and risky as they break over razor-sharp reefs. Before surfing this wave, make sure you are aware of the location of rocks or caves, or holes at the seabed. This will allow you to maneuver around the deadly reefs safely. 

Keep in mind that these waves must be avoided by newbies because it requires a certain skill and understanding to ride these waves. Teahupoo (Tahiti), Macaronis (Indonesia), Pipeline (Hawaii), etc are some of the most famous reef waves.

Point Break

Point Break

Point breaks are waves that bend along a rocky headlock or break around or along the shore rather than towards it. It usually travels in one direction and breaks over corals, rocks, or sand. These waves last longer compared to the beach or reef breaks and can be a great option for newbies. 

The point break at Malibu, California is an excellent location for beginner or intermediate surfers to catch these waves. Even though these waves are quite predictable, surfers must learn to read the swells and pace of the wave so that they can flow with precision. 

The Gold Coast and Bells Beach in Australia and Jeffrey’s Bay in South Africa are some of the most popular places to surf point break waves.


Rivermouth Waves 

One of the easiest waves to surf as they are loved by all kinds of surfers across the world. They are an extremely rare occurrence and show similar characteristics to point break. They are produced when the water deposits sand into well-defined sandbars. This results in sheet flow-type waves that move fast and peel in a predictable and neat formation. 

River breaks can either be permanent or occasional because it entirely depends on the conditions around them. They are also called river mouth waves because they are usually found near the river mouth or under a bridge. 

The most popular river break is located in Mukunda, Spain but you can also find them in other parts of Europe.

Artificial Break

Artificial Break

Artificial surf breaks are man-made waves that are created in a controlled environment. These waves are predictable and flow in a particular fashion. The machines control the power, size, and flow of the waves which allows people to have one of a kind experience. 

Even though they don’t feel anything like the real waves in the oceans, as a newbie you can give it a try. The two types of waves produced by these machines are standing and peeling breaks. A standing break is considered a steady, endless ride whereas a peeling break allows you to surf the wave for 30-60 seconds. 

Be Prepared

Surfing is a fun and exciting sport that not only improves your health physically but also mentally. 

As a beginner, you must always be aware of your surroundings and should not surf waves without the supervision of a trainer or seasoned surfer. 

While surfing is an excellent outdoor activity, you can also consider these fun activities when you visit a beach over the weekend or on a vacation.

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