What are the different types of waves used for surfing?

Undulating waves (these are the best-known waves and the type most surfers prefer because they break in a stable pattern). Sudden waves (they are more unpredictable and are usually limited to experienced surfers). Sudden waves (these are the most dangerous and are usually present on rugged or rocky coasts). Sometimes, surf spots are affected by both the ground and wind waves from multiple directions simultaneously.

Beach breaks are the kind of waves that break into sandbanks. The shape, size and location of the peak of the waves can vary significantly as the sand moves, although certain stretches of beach are known to produce consistently good sandbanks, with waves that tend to have a fairly similar character every year. The sandy bottom of these spots makes them a safer option for novice surfers, but the upcurrents are less predictable and often stronger. Reef breaks are types of waves that break on rock or coral platforms.

Reef breaks are much more consistent in terms of wave shape and peak location, and can create phenomenal waves. These waves can be relentless if you severely destroy them, but they can be the most rewarding in their perfection. Point jumps are areas where waves break on a section of land that protrudes from the coast, breaking along and around the land, rather than directly toward it. Jump points consistently have the best formed waves and the longest routes.

There are three different types of “waves” or “breaks”. Each one is defined by what causes the wave to reach a crest and then break. These are trips to the beach, to the reefs and to access points. Paddling on a beach getaway is often more difficult, since there isn't always a clearly defined channel where the waves don't break; so is knowing where to sit in the “line”.

They are similar to breakpoints in that they form when the river deposits sand on well-defined sandbanks and the wave comes off predictably and cleanly along that point. The longest wave ever crossed is that of the Brazilian river called Pororoca, which was crossed for 10.1 kilometers (6.3 miles) by a local amateur surfer. However, depending on the shape of the reef and how quickly the depth of the water changes from deep to shallow, they can produce waves of all shapes, sizes and powers. The friction created by these winds helps form waves of energy that travel thousands of miles to coastal areas.

Pipeline, Teahupoo and Cloudbreak, three of the most famous and photogenic waves in the world, but also three of the most fearsome and dangerous, cross a reef; so do the countless perfect waves that have turned the Indonesian archipelago into the best playground for surfers. Some jump points, such as the iconic Malibu in California, offer gentle, vertiginous waves that are characterized by a gentle pace and are therefore ideal for longboarders; others specialize in draining barrels or muscle walls at high speed. Most likely, they form next to a promontory and may break on sand or rock, but the resulting waves generally break off for much longer than most trips to the beach or reefs. The sand and, therefore, the shape of the seabed, change easily, which means that the shape and quality of the waves on a beach getaway are not fixed, but can change; sometimes, a suitable sandbank stays there for months, other times it comes and goes in a matter of days.

These types of waves are the best for beginner surfers, since they generally break with less force than the waves on a reef and are a little friendlier to those who try to master the management of them. Although the waves on beach trips are usually brief, the chance of suffering serious injuries is limited due to the fact that you will fall on a sandy bottom. It is rare to find a beach getaway that offers very long walks and, in fact, they are often characterized by having normal waves and waves, but they can be excellent, and there are many world-famous and world-class beach trips, such as Puerto Escondido in Mexico, Supertubes in Portugal and the trips to Hossegor Beach (France). Usually, in most reef breaks, waves come from the depths of the ocean to a shallow reef, quickly creating a wave that requires a fairly quick and tight takeoff.