If you’re anything like me, you’re always on the lookout for a new challenge. You want to take everything to the next level, all the time. You want the ultimate buzz and the feeling that you have conquered the world. Am I right?
There are tons of places in the world to surf, and your choice will often depend on what you want out of your waves, as well as where you can feasibly get to, but some swells just hit the spot.
Chicama in Peru is perhaps the best known long wave, and arguably the largest ocean wave on the planet when the four sections — the largest of which is El Point at 1.1km — link up to form a 2km ride. Famous for its barreling and reforming sections, this creative run is suitable for beginners to experts, as it has both the accessibility and the room for maneuvers. Cristobal de Col famously pulled a radical 34 turns here, so don’t rule it out if you’re looking for a challenge!
Close in distance to Chicama is the Australian Gold Coast. The Superbank can run 2km, all the way from Snapper Rock to Kirra, linking with the other two sections Green Mount and Little Marley. That’s what can happen, but I’m not sure when the sections last lined up, and no one can be sure when it will happen again. Still, the Gold Coast will always be a solid surf spot, if you can navigate the day-trippers and hustle in on the action.
Technically speaking, there have been longer waves surfed out of the oceans than in. The Pororoca wave, a tidal bore in the middle of the Brazilian Amazon, has been surfed for a total of 37 minutes and a distance of 12.2km! The power of the wave will pretty much carry you if you can handle it, but for anyone thinking of trying it, you should be aware that it’s only possible for three days each year in late-February to early-March.
But there has been longer. Holding the record for the longest time and distance wave ever ridden, Gary Saavedra surfed the Panama Canal, a 48-mile man-made waterway, on March 11th for a total of 3 hours and 55 minutes. Before you pack your bags and boards and run off to Panama hoping to catch a wave, take a minute to think about this. There are no waves on the Panama. Saavedra followed a wave-creating boat. It’s still kind of impressive, but we all know it’s not quite the same as the real thing.
Back in the oceans, there are a couple of other long waves that are worthy of a mention. The aptly named Skeleton Bay in Namibia is one for the pros and the brave-hearted. It’s in the middle of the desert, where life consists of extreme temperatures, thirst, and dust. But when the swells are right, Skeleton Bay produces some of the fastest tubes and longest sand-bottomed lefts on the planet!
A little easier to reach is Jeffreys Bay in South Africa, which includes the Supertubes 300m break, and a potential line of 1km if the breaks line up. For this to happen, all sections need decent swells and strong offshores at the same time. You’re most likely to catch this between June and August. What are the longest waves you’ve ever surfed? Tell us about it in the comments section below.