The North Shore of Oahu has almost too many quality surf breaks to count. Within the Seven Mile Miracle, it’s surfer’s choice on what to ride, from mammoth barrels and wide-open carvable faces to the soft rolling peelers of Turtle Bay near our North Shore Surf School. Sometimes we’re in the mood to surf something different, something fun, maybe, something weird. Whenever the urge strikes to surf the unusual, we search far and wide for the best available novelty waves. Novelty waves come in all shapes in sizes, like standing river waves, giant boat wakes, tidal bores, wave pools, and more. Continue reading below for Our Favorite Novelty Waves in Hawaii and Beyond.
The Waimea River mouth is just up the sand from the goliath big waves of Waimea Bay. After a heavy rain, the river flows over the sand, and with a little help in the form of digging, a standing wave forms as the river lets out into the ocean. Unlike traditional surfing, where you surf down the wave’s face, when you’re surfing a standing wave, you’re surfing in the same spot, moving from left to right as the wave travels under you.
Texas Tanker Surfing
Texas may not be the first destination you think of when pondering surf travel, but the Lone Star State is home to more than a few decent waves, both in and out of the pool. Beyond Waco and the fickle beach breaks on the Gulf Coast, Texas is home to one of the world’s longest novelty waves—the tanker wave. Oil Tankers come in and out of the Houston Ship Channel and Galveston Bay with relative frequency, but it takes some serious local knowledge to know when the conditions line up to create a rideable wave. Every so often, things come together, and surfers can hunt down tanker waves by boat and score rides as long as 10 minutes.
Surfing under the Golden Gate Bridge
It’s no secret that San Francisco has surf. Ocean Beach is world-class on the right day and a serious big wave spot in the winter. Beyond Ocean Beach, San Francisco is also home to one of the most iconic novelty waves in surfing, and it breaks right under the Golden Gate Bridge. The water under the Golden Gate bridge is sailed more often than it is surfed, but in the right conditions, a left forms close to shore that few are lucky enough to surf.
The Newport Wedge
The Newport Wedge is a mutant of a wave that breaks close to shore and morphs from an average size swell into a backwash-fueled double up the size of a freight train. The Wedge has been a popular skimboarding and bodyboarding spot for years, but occasionally surfers take on the carnage and come out victorious. With a large swell in SoCal, the wave at the wedge bounces off nearby cliffs and refracts off the jetty to create a freak of nature double up that often sends surfers flying high into the air.
Deep in the heart of Germany, far from any Ocean, Sea, Gulf, or Bay, a lone river wave breaks in the middle of the Bavarian capital of Munich. Munich is known more for its beer and bratwurst than it is for surfing, but the Eisbach attracts surfers from all over the world. Surfers brave the frigid waters of the Isar River to surf the Eisbach, one of Europe’s most celebrated standing waves.
If you’re not out looking for novelty waves, head to Turtle Bay to surf with our North Shore Surf School. Book a North Shore surf lesson or surf guide to experience the world-class waves of the Oahu’s North Shore firsthand. Book your stay at the Turtle Bay Resort to stay close to the action.