If you go and ask a hundred surfers to name the top 10 surfspots in the
world, most likely only a handful of them would mention beachbreaks. When
surfers think of beautiful waves, they instinctively think of reefbreaks
and pointbreaks :
Pipeline (Hawaii), Jeffreys Bay (Africa), Cloudbreak(Fiji), G-Land(Bali).
The list keeps going on
It's too bad that surfers (in general) are like many people when it comes
to top 10 lists : unimaginative !
It's a shame, because beachbreaks are highly underrated. Pick any day in
the year on most coastlines (especially up here in chilly Canada), and you
will find surfers chasing what they thought was a good wave all day.
Although beachbreaks can be highly unpredictable and fickle, they can also
produce some insanely memorable moments.
If you really think about it, beachbreaks are the 'essence' of the
surfing lifestyle. When you surf a beachbreak, every sweet wave is like a
gift; every 'perfect' wave is nothing shy of a miracle. If you surf a
reefbreak or pointbreak, there's always a sense of expectation : you
expect every wall to reel, every tube to be hollow, every bowl to spit,
and you kickout disappointed when they don't. The fact still lies, that
only a handful of them are THAT perfect, especially pointbreaks. They are
way too overrated. Unmakeable sections and crowds are things that surfers
tend to forget. Performance is another issue. Once you're up and riding a
pointbreak, you're pressured to perform; the wave is hot, so you better be
hot too! On the otherhand, expectation and performance is non-existent at
beachbreaks. You don't expect perfection from the imperfect waves, and it
doesn't expect perfection from you. Miss a barrel ? It was probably a
closeout anyway. Bail on a cutback? Blame it on a mushy wave.
There are fewer fights at beachbreaks too. Actually, now that I think
of it, for the exception of a few 'weekend warriors' who think they own
the beaches, I've never witnessed an actual fight. With hot pointbreaks
and reefbreaks, you either paddle in, deal with the stress in a crowd, or keep your tail between your legs and watch from the beach.
Personally, I think the absolute randomness in beachbreaks rocks. No expectation. No disappointments. No regrets. All fun!
You paddle over the first wave in a set thinking they'll all be small, and suddenly find yourself facing a thick, perfectly shaped peak.
What matters then is not the ride but the moment before it --- that split-second of awe when you realize that you've somehow managed to put yourself in position to fully take advantage of this happy little accident of time and space.
Sometimes I think that's the reason I surf in the first place :
It reminds me that this 'godforsaken' world we live in is an unpredictable place, and at the center of all that chaos and utter confusion lies some pure simple joy.
Sometimes, if you take advantage of a small, dainty opportunity, it may turn into something unexpected and wonderful.