The wave direction

Some waves break in a unique direction and are designated as such.


When viewing the wave from the shore, a left wave is one that breaks from left to right.


A right wave breaks from right to left as viewed from the surfer’s paddling direction.


A wave that can be surfed as a Left and a Right.

The wave mechanics

What lies beneath the surface provides different surf breaks.

Surfers at Anchor Point Morocco
The french beach break of La Graviere

Beach breaks:

A Type of spot where waves break over a sandy bottom. They are typically A-frames that can move and change due to a lot of factors such as tides, swell directions, and sandbar movements. For instance, La Graviere, is a world class beach break in Hossegor, France.

Shore breaks: 

A wave that breaks really close to the shore, often on the beach itself. Created when waves hit the shore at a steep angle this kind of waves have a tendency to break all at once and be what surfers call closeout. If you are lucky to see Sandy Beach in Hawaii, you will probably see a shore break that can get really huge.

Surfers at Anchor Point Morocco
Anchor point viewed from the village of Taghazout

Point breaks: 

A type of wave formed when waves hit a headland, a reef, or a human created structure that extends out from the shoreline above water. This kind of wave breaks at a predictable and consistent location as seen at the famous Anchor Point in Morocco.

Reef breaks:

Are waves created where ocean swells hit submerged rocks or coral reefs forcing the wave to break. The 2024 Olympics will take place on the reef break and wave known as Teahupo’o in French Polynesia.

River mouth waves: 

Is a category of waves created by the constant battle of a river and the ocean over sand bars formed by sediments pushed by the river. For instance, Mundaka in Spain is a world-famous river mouth wave that was damaged between 2003 and 2006 due to the dredging of the river.

Others / Novelty waves

The not so common surfing waves.

Tidal bores/river bore:

A type of wave created during the highest tides in a certain part of the world, causing the ocean to flow in the river creating a tidal wave. Such as the Pororoca a wave that can be found in the amazon and adjacent rivers which can give surfers rides that last kilometers.  

A surfer on surfing in munich
River surfing at the the Eisbach river, Munich

River waves:

A stationary wave created by the constant flow of freshwater over a structure such as rocks. The wave of the Eisbach river in the heart of Munich, Germany is an example of an urban river wave.

Wave Pools waves:

A fully artificial wave created in artificial pools using various technologies, such as the Surf Ranch, a wave created by Kelly Slater 150 kilometers from the sea.

Did we forget something? Would you need more explanations? let us know in a comment!

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