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The Longest Surfable Waves in The World

Imagine surfing a wave so perfectly formed, it makes you quit before it does.

You may know where to find the most popular, consistent, or biggest waves, but what about the world's longest? When the stars align (and, well, other factors including tides and oceanography), surf’s up for waves and super long swells that roll in like corduroy. Craving the thrill of catching and cruising for minutes? Prep your legs as much as your arms — the ride ends when your thighs decide. Here are six surf spots that will get you stoked for that endless wave.

aerial view of the skeleton coast in the namib desert namibia picture Anthony Bannister

1. Skeleton Coast, Namibia

On the northernmost part of Namibia along the Atlantic Ocean, you'll find the longest sand bottom left in the world (which means a nice wave for surfers who ride “goofy,” or right-foot-forward). The site went undiscovered as a surfable location until 2005 when Google Earth revealed the long ride, perfect for advanced and pro surfers. It's in a pretty remote spot, though, so if the conditions are poor, there's not much to do other than hang with the seals.

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cape cross seal reserve in the skeleton coast namib desert western picture

Leamus

Over half a mile long, the waves tube (or hollow out) for the duration of your ride, which is fun — some might even call it tubular. As the waves at Skeleton Coast form, they suck up sand from the bottom and spit it back out, renourishing the beach. The site itself has only existed with suitable conditions for about 40 years, and with wind pushing up the desert coast combined with the dredging, it may be just a matter of time before the geography changes again, and the waves are no longer a surfable ride. But even if they're temporary, it's nice to think it's possible for new surf spots to crop up in the future.

waves of the atlantic ocean brushing against the dunes of the namib picture Roberto Moiola waves at jeffreys bay picture John Seaton Callahan

2. Jeffery's Bay, South Africa

The longest right-hand break in the world (for the regular-footed folks), Jeffery's Bay consists of 10 different beach sections that, with the right conditions, position a very long wave. With swells from 2 feet to 12 feet high, different sections offer different levels of difficulty, making it a good spot for intermediate to pro-surfers.

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surfers at jeffreys bay picture

John Seaton Callahan

Be sure to bring along your booties: Facing the relentless current, you'll need to trek back over boulders, sharp rocks, and mussel shells to get back where you started. You'll probably want the rest of your wetsuit on too, to deal with the serious windchill.

jeffreys bay picture John Seaton Callahan river tidal bore surfing in sumatra picture Paul Kennedy

3. The Bono at Kampar River, Sumatra, Indonesia

The river-surfing gold standard is famous for what's known as the Bono — a tidal bore, or a phenomenon in which a wave from an incoming tide travels up a river with a current flowing in the opposite direction. The repeating rippling waves that result can be easily ridden for over 20 minutes, and in theory, for hours. The wave itself has been known to travel the river for four hours following the tides.

Surfers Ride The 'Bono' Tidal Wave Of The Kampar River

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Seven Waves of "Bono Tidal" in Kampar River

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The bad news: This isn't a wave you can just swim out and catch — you'll likely need a tow-in from a boat or jet-ski (boats also help protect from the river's crocodiles). On the bright side: Given the unusual nature of the bore tide, crowds aren't really a problem.

surfers riding a tidal bore wave on the kampar river picture Paul Kennedy surfers ride waves at snapper rocks on february 20 2015 in gold coast picture Chris Hyde/Getty Images

4. The Superbank, Australia

The Superbank on the Gold Coast comprises multiple popular breaks that can align to make a superwave. Unfortunately, the crowds here can be overwhelming — between rippers and long boarders all clambering for a shot at the perfect ride, there can be a lot of wave rage.

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There are waves all tides, and swells from about 3 feet to 10 feet. But save your paddling energy for battling through the strong currents.

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5. Chicama, Peru

A point break in the middle of the desert of north Peru, this spot features four breaks that align to create the longest left in the world (again, great for goofy-footed folk). Rides can send a surfer ripping for minutes on end, but going the full length of the wave sends you to the wrong end of an extremely strong current. Even if you don't catch waves, you'll be quickly sucked to the next break. Eventually you'll need to get out of the water, hike back to the first point, and paddle in again if you want to do it like a local. Or if you're going gringo, catch a Zodiac boat to tow you back to the beginning of the break.

Small tortora reed boat called caballito (small horse) used by fishermen in Pacific coastal waters surf since pre-Hispanic times, at Pimental, Peru.

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wooden stairway leading down to sandy beach picture

Aaron Black

Walking along the sandy cliffs that tower just above perfect sets, you can drool over waves rolling in as far as you can see. Sunset surfs make you feel the sacred vibes of this ancient small town in the desert. Surfing has been a tradition here for thousands of years, and scattered around Chicama you'll see the traditional tortora reed boats called caballitos (translation: small horses) used by fishermen to ride waves. Chicama is also known for having zero reported shark attacks (but the seal bones you'll find on the beach do look a little suspicious).

Surfer walking on beach toward waves at sunset Aaron Black scorpion bay baja california mexico picture Tim Davis

6. Scorpion Bay, Baja California, Mexico

Scorpion Bay gets its long ride from the eight point breaks facing straight southeast, which generate the right-handed superwave. Not surprisingly, the Bay has a decent population of scorpions as well as sea urchins, so watch your toes while you hang 10. Also important to check the surf report, as it can go through long periods of flat spells.

A young woman on the nose while surfing in Baja, Mexico.

Tim Davis

A woman surfs on a beautiful blue sky day.

Tim Davis

It's about a 14-hour drive from southern California, and a great spot for some elegant long boarding. If the surf is looking flat, chill for a while: You can camp under the stars, make a bonfire, play in your drum circle, and drink tequila. Make sure to bring the 4x4.

scorpion bay baja california mexico picture Tim Davis