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7 Longest Surf Waves in the World



For surfers, life is about chasing the biggest, longest ride.

A great ride, however, doesn’t alwayshave to be long. Some of the best waves ever surfed were as short as 10 seconds. That’s why long waves, those topping one minute and occasionally reaching two or three, are something of a holy grail to surfers. These are, without a doubt, some of the best rides an Adrenalist can experience. They rarely appear, but when they do, they provide the rush that surfers spend their lives looking for.

Here are the beaches you can visit to find the 7 longest surf waves in the world.

Puerto Chicama, Peru

The world’s longest wave, sometimes known as “El Hombre,” breaks along a desolate stretch of Peru’s northern coastline. Though it’s just a 40-minute drive from the Pan-American Highway, and hides one of the greatest gifts surfers will ever know, Puerto Chicama is often forgotten – even by surfers. Perhaps it’s a function of the cold water, strong currents or fickle wave. Whatever the reason, surfers who do venture to El Hombre will find rides up to three minutes long—more than one mile – along with the solitude. The fast breaking, left wave lasts so long that surfer’s legs are jelly by the time the ride is done. Tiny tow-boats can be hired for about $1 to place you back in the lineup. El Hombre is perfect around 6 feet, but is rarely bigger and no good when much smaller than that. Buffeted by never-ending offshore winds, this wave was first spotted from an airplane seat by a surfer returning to Hawaii from a competition in Peru. His good eye spotted one of the best waves on the planet – remarkably, one that few surfers have tasted firsthand.

Superbank, Gold Coast Australia

The Superbank used to have good waves. They were made into epic waves by pure serendipity – when a dredging crew was maintaining a shipping lane. While relocating sand at Tweed Rivermouth, a half-mile away, the crew unwittingly created an incredibly hollow and unbelievably long right. Superbank breaks from a natural point over sand, creating a cross between a beach and point break. One of the most legendary tubes in the world, Superbank, located not far from Brisbane, may also be one of the busiest breaks anywhere. Riding the full distance – a whopping ride of just over one mile – can be difficult: it sometimes requires linking two nearly-distinct waves. But on a perfect day, the wave eases seamlessly creating a long, surfer-sized barrel that goes on forever.

Amazonian Tidal Bore

The Pororoca, as it is called, is a wave created from a tidal push working up the Amazon River, all the while stirring up debris like whole trees and countless piranha. Astoundingly, the wave can travel roughly 400 miles. Surfers, not surprisingly, descend on the wave when it arrives, vying for ever-longer rides. The best anyone has done yet is a ride of a blissful 45-minutes.

Pavones, Costa Rica

Costa Rica is known for possessing some of the world’s cleanest waves along enchanting jungle-covered coastlines. No surf spot in this country (and there are many) better exemplifies the ideal surf conditions than Pavones. When conditions are favorable, one of the longest lefts in the world slashes past the cobblestone beaches, providing 2- or 3-minute rides. Surfers can be carried three-quarters of a mile by the time they hit the beach. Weeks can pass, however, without so much as a half-decent set gracing this town near Gulfo Dulce.  Eventually, though, big southern swells always hit Pavones. And when they hit, they hit, and surfers around the world instantly know Pavones is firing.

Tanker Waves

In the Gulf of Mexico, off the Texas Coast, calm seas combined with a shipping container at top speed make for a surreal surfing experience. The cowboys who chase these waves must wait for the right conditions, scout container ships and charge their wake. When they get it right, the payoff is huge—rides that make up for the mediocre wave-quality with mind-bending length.

Libertad El Salvador

Even for a break in a country riddled with surf spots, Libertad stands out as one of El Salvador’s finest waves, and at 200 yards – a common ride length – one of the longest waves in the world. The main attraction is Punta Roca, a right hand point break that, like many of the breaks along this rocky stretch of shoreline, has a rugged outcropping at the entry point. In the perpetually 80-degree water, a wetsuit is hardly necessary, but booties are advisable for the rocks and resident urchins. The waves here are fast and hollow. But once you’re in, you can ride for what seems like forever.

Boca de Barranca, Costa Rica

At 800 yards—a ride possible in the best of conditions—Boca de Barranca offers surf that is nothing short of world-class. Another environmental factor sets this place apart from most surf destinations: the crocodiles who have been known to greet surfers in the lineup, which is just a short swim from their home in a nearby river. The unending lefts, slow and friendly, are best for longboards and anyone without a fear of aquatic reptiles.

We want to hear about your experiences, let us know if you’ve visited any beaches with longer waves in the world. Looking for other surfing travel hotspots? Check out the best river surfing in the world.

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