Wednesday, October 6, 2010

#25 Point Breaks

Within the surf break strata; there is a highly sought after type of wave that surfers froth over for its overall length of ride and shreddability.  Commonly referred to as a “Point Break” (No, not the cheesy 1991 movie Bodhi!!), they are the surfers’ Holy Grail for long, drawn out turns and extended flow mojo.  Just uttering the word conjures up images of famous point breaks like Malibu, Rincon, Pavones, Kirra, Chicama, Raglan, Mundaka, and Jeffreys Bay to name a few.  While not all point breaks are created equal or even world class for that matter, they are often far superior to the fickle beach break scenario and its ever present 2 pump chump closeout routine.  Point breaks are like the Autobahn speedway of surf breaks allowing the surfer a bit more breathing room to stretch their legs, put the pedal to the metal, and let loose on the open ocean highway with a series of highline speed drives, buckets of spray inducing whack-em’s, and styled out soul turns.  On their best days, point breaks become a lesson in geometry and perfect symmetry.  Long period open ocean swells wrap in off the point and funnel down the beach at nearly right angles as tapering walls of whitewater pitch down the line in hypnotizing succession.  Rides can be so long and surreal that surfers often have to pinch themselves just to make sure they’re not dreaming or still mindsurfing back on the beach for that matter.  In addition to their stoke inducing qualities, point breaks also offer up logistical advantages affording the surfer the option of walking back up the point to catch another wave rather than paddling back out (a useful technique that saves the surfer from unnecessary “noodle arm-itis” after especially long rides).  It’s the type of wave where your legs are liable to conch out on you before your arms do from the sheer length of ride – a very rare and enviable occurrence indeed in the sport of surfing!

Point Breaks are true gems in an ocean full of featureless bottom contours and straight angled coastlines.  One look at Google Earth and it becomes painfully obvious that certain parts of the Globe have an abundance of these wave tapering topographies while other coastlines get the shaft (think East Coast of USA).  To the detriment of the surfer, point breaks are a feast or famine type of proposition.  It’s almost as if when God created the Earth in 7 days he hit the snooze button on the “point break creation proclamation” blessing certain locales with 2 parts rock, 1 part headland, while leaving other areas to squabble over shifty sandbars and a fleeting prayer that tomorrow will finally be the day when the waves don’t closeout.  All blasphemy aside, there are point breaks out there that have yet to be discovered and are being discovered on a daily basis.  Take for instance the running of Rip Curl’s WCT Event at the once obscure right-hander down in Mexico known as “La Jolla” or the amazing footage of Cory Lopez getting shacked silly on a never ending lefthander somewhere in Africa.  And who can forget the classic footage of two young surfers ascending that last sand dune to find untapped point break perfection at Cape St. Francis in Bruce Brown’s epic “Endless Summer” documentary.  Just another day of living the dream – seek and ye shall score!!


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