While I have been traveling for the last 10 years of my life, riding many different waves around the world, I have decided to talk about 5 of my favourite places to waves I love to ride on my bodyboard. These 5 places in no particular order have given me such a joy in my life and I cannot wait to get back in the water there. I have really been fortunate to experience so many different cultures in the world, meeting friends that will last a lifetime and getting to ride some incredible waves. So going forward I would like to explain these places and how they are special to me…
Caves, Boland, South Africa
Caves is situated in the Boland in the Western Cape. The wave has a huge mountain range encompassing the wave into the bay and making a coliseum effect with the wave the centre of it all. For the last 3 years I have lived and ridden this wave. I stay about 30 minutes from there and take every opportunity to get down and ride with friends.
The wave itself is a right handed wedge that refracts off the rocks sending a side wave down the line. This builds up some fun right handed peaks that run down the beach. Although this wave can only be ridden up until the 6 foot range, there are only a few of us out on days like that and the ramps are huge. There are options for some good barrels as the wave runs fast down the line, always with something to hit. In the winter majority of the sand is washed away and the bigger swells make the wave unrideable for the most part. As summer comes back around, the sand fills in and that’s when majority of the good waves come through. Warmer water lines this part of the coast so ice cold duck dives are out of the equation for the most part of the year.
I have shared some of the most memorable sessions of my life out here and that why it fits into the top 5. That plus the fact that this is now my local spot that I surf and the community at this wave are all legends that I love spending time with.
Pipeline, North Shore Oahu, Hawai’i
The heavy waters of Hawai’i always get me excited to go back. From the shallow sand bottoms of ‘Ehukai Beach Park to the fun left and right reefs at Rocky Point but it’s Pipeline that gets me excited. I have fallen in love with the sheer beauty this wave beholds.
I have spent about 7 seasons (3 months at a time) over in Hawai’i. The warm waters and winter sunlight make for a paradise setup. Add in some perfect waves and you have got majority of the surf world hooked on this beautiful place. The reef is scattered with rock and flat spots with some tunnelling holes that make for a very scary under water experience. The wave comes out of the east and detonates onto a shallow part of the reef which makes for an awesome barrel and then runs onto the sand bar for some ramps. I have been drawn towards the Hawaiian Culture since a trip I did over to Maui a few years ago and missing a season there is not an option.
Although the waves are amazing, the power that the Pacific holds is no joke and should really be handled with the utmost respect and care. This goes for the place itself, it is sacred and spiritual in so many different ways!
El Flopos, Arica, Chile
Chile and more specifically Arica was my first World Tour event win back in 2016. Since that time I have been going back year after year and the waves always come to the party. In the 3 weeks we spend there, we are guaranteed to get any number of swells that will come through.
El Flopos is known as “The Cold Water Pipeline” and the water is a lot colder than its doppelganger Pipeline. Come to think of it, this is maybe why I also love riding this wave. A similar bottom structure to Pipe but at the same time very different. The bottom is lined with a flatter reef but instead of the holes, sea urchins tops of the rocks changing the white rock to black. This coupled with some big waves and 20 of the world’s best riders makes for one hell of a spectacle every year. The wave is similar to Pipeline but it starts off a little almond shaped before hitting the inside reef and unleashing onto a slabbing section before allowing you to come out with an air move or ride into the channel.
Again this wave is not for the faint hearted. The rocks are situated very close to the wave and trying to avoid hitting them is the main objective. Getting in and out of the water can also be tricky but a place that I am always excited to go back and enjoy.
Famous Last Words, West Coast, South Africa
South Africa is not the easiest place to travel to but the waves are endless. From small fun beach breaks to slabbing 8 foot reefs, we have it all. This wave in particular is one of my favourites and my session last year while filming “The Elements Series” will forever go down as a session to remember.
The wave itself is a sand bottom wave that is broken up by outer reefs. This allows for the middle of the wave to slow down and form a type of wedging peak effect that comes through and breaks perfectly. The West Coast is a long stretch of coast and the area around famous has so many world class waves. Famous opens your mind to what a beach break can produce and many of the guys around South Africa get really excited to see a swell pop up on the charts there. This wave allows for a high level of riding with multiple moves, barrels, ramps and combos to be done.
The last time I rode there I had some of my good friends as well as past sponsor and mentor, Billy Thiel, in the water. We shared some waves and spent so many hours riding barrels, screaming at each other and having the best time. That why it goes into the top 5.
Praia Do Norte, Nazaré, Portugal
I’m sure everybody around the world has heard of Nazaré. They look at this wave as the pinnacle of big wave surfing. But everyone seems to miss the fact that when those big waves aren’t breaking, Praia Do Norte has got to be one of the best beach breaks around. Riding it from as small as 2 foot to as big as 10 feet, barrels, ramps and everything in between are possible.
The wave starts off getting maximised by the deep underwater canyon that runs towards the beach at Praia Do Norte. This makes that same middle peak that I spoke about at Famous and allows you to gain maximum speed in order to make barrels that you thought weren’t possible or race and do some big air moves. I have got one of the biggest air reverses out there off a wave I didn’t think would allow me to go that high. This is a very high performance wave that should be treated with care as the power generated by the canyon is no joke. It unleashes onto the beach like a bat out of hell and will push you into the sand quicker than a cheetah chasing a gazelle.
In the time that I have spent in Portugal it always leads me backup to Nazare to enjoy the hospitality at Zulla Surf Village and the amazing waves that line that stretch of coastline. The local riders are some of the friendliest guys around and always inviting us to share waves with them.
I have been so fortunate to be able to travel around the world and to so many different places. To the friends I have made, locals who have shared their waves and people I have had the pleasure to surf with, I thank you. You have made my life that much better and contributed to all my happiness thinking back to these places and moments. I will always repay the favour if anybody is coming out to my home and I hope to show all you guys around here someday. I hope you enjoy the video below with a look at these 5 spots and what I how lucky I have been to score some epic waves there…