Goofy foot surfers are a bit like people who write left handed. They’re a bit more unique in the line-up. Plus they find it a lot easier to ride waves that break to the left.
When you learn to surf, one of the first things you’ll do on the beach is find out which foot feels more natural to ‘lead’ with on your surfboard. One of the acid tests is to push someone from behind and see which foot they step forward with. So, if you step forward with your right foot then congrats, you’re a goofy footer. Just like legends Mark Occhilupo and Gerry Lopez. Or current world tour shredders Gabriel Medina and Tatiana Weston-Webb.
Surfers generally find it easier to surf their forehand. It means you face towards the wave face whilst you’re surfing. So for all you goofy footed surfers, your forehand will be a left hand breaking wave.
Naturally, any surfer will want to find the best waves for their ability, but what about surfing the best waves for your stance? In the UK, which has lots of beach breaks, the waves generally break both left and right.
But if want to head further afield and seek out those dreamy lefts, check out the world’s best waves for goofy foot surfers;
This jaw droppingly beautiful wave is the world’s longest left hander. It breaks off a point right along to the pier and runs for over a mile. Yet the whole cape which the wave breaks off is roughly 2 ½ miles long.
Discovered in 1967 by Chuck Shipman whilst flying over Peru by plane, Chicama is surprisingly uncrowded or built up. The village of Puerto Chicama has a tiny population which, coupled with the vast line-up, means you’ll literally have waves all to yourself!
Pavones, Costa Rica
Depending on who you talk to, some say that this Costa Rican gem is actually the world’s longest left. Unheard of for over 20 years, Pavones is another point break which wraps around a beach full of boulders and provides a pretty mind blowing 3-minute ride.
It needs a hefty southern swell and works from 3ft all the way up to 16ft!
Pavones is not easy to get to and it’s inconsistent. Only for the really committed!
If you’re after something a bit more gnarly, check out the heaviest, most dangerous left in the world. Not only is Teahupoo big, powerful and high octane fast (it’s speedier than a motorbike), the wave breaks over a shallow, razor sharp coral reef.
Renowned for some pretty nasty injuries (think Keala Kennelly’s face) and sketchy wipeouts, this horrifyingly beautiful wave reaches heights of up to 18ft. The take off is ridiculously fast so timing is everything!
Best left to the experts, and even then they don’t escape unscathed, we recommend watching from a safe distance. Preferably from your TV screen. Teahupoo is also a stop on the World Surf League Championship Tour and a real crowd pleaser.
Skeleton Bay (West Coast of Africa)
Another super long left (one of the world’s longest), Skeleton or ‘Donkey’s Bay’ is a relatively recent discovery. In 2008, the lucky winner of Surfing Magazine’s ‘Google Earth Challenge’ visited Skeleton Bay along with Corey Lopez, amongst others, to ride this desolate wave.
Right in the middle of the Namibian desert, Skeleton Bay produces a fast and heavy wave – barreling for pretty much it’s entire length!
Not exactly a place where you’d go on holiday, the line-up’s not much of a pretty place either – sharks, super strong rips, shallow sandbanks and pro’s who know what they’re doing!
Renowned as one of the best waves in the world which just happens to be located in paradise, Uluwatu is a wide reef featuring 5 main peaks. It starts with ‘The Peak’ which is one of the most consistent waves in the world, through to Temples (the least crowded but furthest to paddle) and finishes up on Bombies – a heavy wave which needs a large swell to work.
Access to The Peak is through a cave and you’ll need to watch the current and tide as you could face a really long paddle back!
Ulus is an advanced surfers’ wave so if you’re not an advanced surfer, we suggest soaking up the sun with an ice cold Bintang (the local beer) and watching the action from one of the cliff top bars instead!
Rio Nexpa, Mexico
Despite being relatively remote, this consistent rivermouth set up has become crowded in recent years. On a southerly swell at low to mid tide, the sections link up to generate pretty tube rides – anything from 100-300+ yards.
Ranging from 2-3ft up to 18ft, it’s sometimes longboard and beginner friendly but beware of the cobblestones! The largest swells appear during the summer months (from June to September).
This world class wave attracts surfers from all over and there’s a surf camp just 8 minutes away.
Image credits: Teahupoo (main image) via Wikimedia Commons, Chicama via Flickr, Uluwatu via Wikimedia Commons