Sometimes, you’d think that the only surfers in the water are pros and kooks -- there's no in between. Basically all of the pictures we see of people surfing are AAA talents in world class barrels, or hopeless Hollywood starlets survival-stancing at Waikiki and Malibu. But the reality is that the majority of us are somewhere in the middle—intermediate surfers who like surfing intermediate waves, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Fortunately, there are a lot of those types of waves to choose from. In fact, most of the waves out there are lie somewhere between straight-hand mushburger and death-defying slab. Here are five of the world’s best intermediate waves, broken down by region.
The North Shore is notorious for a lot of reasons, not the least of which being the fact that it is littered with heavy, gnarly waves. Between Sunset, Beach, Pipe, Off the Wall, Waimea, and the Outer Reefs, it might seem like there’s nowhere on the Seven-Mile Miracle for the everyman surfer to get a few waves without shitting his boardshorts. But Lanis is the exception to the rule on the North Shore, providing more of a point break experience than virtually any other Oahu wave. Although it does get beefy when the swell pushes into the XL range, on small land medium days, Lanis provides North Shore juice in a user-friendly package, making it one of the best intermediate saves on Oahu.
Spot guide: Laniakea
The Pass (Australia)
Located a short drive from the epicentre of Australian surfing, The Pass doesn’t enjoy the hype of Kirra and the Superbank, but still provides the right-hand point break perfection that Oz’s east coast is famous for. This long sand point ranges from perfect logging waves to head-high screamers, all set in the hippie paradise that is Byron Bay.
And if the crowd at The Pass gets to be a bit too much, there are a handful of other rippable, world-class points a short jaunt down the coast, not to mention miles worth of back beaches.
Forecast: The Pass
While heavier, hollower waves like Padang Padang, Desert Point, and G-Land have come to dominate the Indonesian landscape, Uluwatu was Bali’s original dreamy left-hander, and still remains one of the longest, most picturesque waves in the archipelago. Boasting a variety of rippable sections and the occasional barrel, Ulu’s peels from Temples through The Peak and on down the line to the Racetrack.
There’s even a manageable outside section (appropriately named Outside Corner) that turns on when the swell pushes into the XL range, for those who are looking to level up. Add to that the historical significance of the wave (it was the first world-class Indonesian wave to be “discovered” and revealed in the seminal film Morning of the Earth, and Uluwatu offers up just about everything an intermediate wave rider on their first overseas surf trip could hope for.
Live cam: Uluwatu
Upper Trestles (California)
Located a stone’s throw away from one of the most sought-after waves in California, Upper Trestles doesn’t have the same big-name appeal as Lower Trestles, but is still a noteworthy wave in its own right. Sure, it might not be quite as glamorous or conducive to high-performance shredding as Lowers, but Uppers still has fun, workable walls, and with a fraction of the crowd. Plus, anytime you feel like sitting up and resting, you will find yourself with front-row seats to the best show in surfing.
La Punta (Mexico)
Located a short distance down the beach from Mexico’s biggest, meanest wave, La Punta has virtually nothing in common with Playa Zicatela—except for the fact that they both lie in the same Oaxacan city of Puerto Escondido.
Unlike Zicatela’s huge, hollow, shifting sandbar peaks, La Punta is a relative soft and user-friendly left-hand point with a defined channel and long, peeling waves. For those looking to score some non-death-defying waves while checking out the cultural hub of Puerto Escondido—or to grab a warm-up surf before heading to the nearby point breaks of Huatulco and Salina Cruz—La Punta is the obvious answer.
Forecast: La Punta
Cover shot uploaded to MSW by Surfing Lens.