I can’t say I surf much, but I do have surfing friends that encourage me to surf, and they get out on the water way more than I’d have thought possible, after all, they have mortgages to pay, kids to feed and bosses to keep happy, but they somehow manage to… Maybe that’s what people mean when they say surfing is magical?
Even though I know quite a few surfers, I know few that surf the big waves, these tend to be extreme sports enthusiasts with inbuilt fearlessness, particularly of what the ocean can throw at them.
Australia and a load of other countries have surfing spots that range from laid back to lethal. Some of the places that surfers go to ply their trade are miles away from shore and miles away from help, there is no mercy to be found in these waves.
Shipstern Bluff in Tasmania, Australia, is one of these places. It is a favored spot for great white sharks and the waves are formed of multi-layered inner formations otherwise known as “the steps.” It gives the waves a unique appearance and challenging ride.
Cape Fear, also known as “Ours” in New South Wales, is one of the most shallow surfing areas. Under the water, there is a flat reef covered in sharp barnacles. It has six to eight-foot high waves that try to pummel you to the ocean floor or into the cliff face.
“The Right” in Western Australia has a deep hold and lots of sharks surfing the waves with you. Its waves will roll you deep down, and you can end up with a bleeding nose and ruptured ear drums from the deep water pressure.
If your body is still intact and breathing, head out to some of the other sites dotted around the world.
California has a lethal surf spot called the “Mavericks,” just off Half Moon Bay. It has massive peaks, but the biggest danger is tucked under these impressive peaks and is known as The Cauldron, with rocks, holes, and ledges over 50 feet down where you can be held under for multiple waves.
The water surges violently in it with each swell. Sadly, two very experienced surfers, Mark Foo and Sion Milosky, have met their deaths here, along with many others.
If that’s not enough for you, head to Portugal and the “Praia do Norte.” An underwater canyon funnels the swells into the beach, so they become amplified. Each wave is different, and no two waves break onto the same place.
Praia do Norte
Or there are the aptly named “Dungeons” in South Africa, a country known for its huge waves, cold water, and very hungry sharks. It has waves that break over 40 feet high, and it is known to have sneaky waves that creep up on you and did we mention the sharks?
Surfing has its risks and the bigger the waves the higher the risks. Surfers have a lot to contend with, the threat to their wellbeing can come from multiple sources. Sharks like to eat and a surfer in a wetsuit can look like a meal. One of the highest risks is being knocked unconscious by their board or the ocean floor.
Surfers are a tough and hardy group of people, and those that ride the big waves, well, I take my hat off to you.
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