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Longest wave in the world (non tidal) PDF Print E-mail
Written by ozsurfer101   
Saturday, 09 December 2006

You hear a lot about the "longest wave in the world" (non tidal). There are many claims. Lonely Planet, for example, in different editions claims both Chicama in Peru and Raglan in New Zealand are the world's longest lefthanders (both wrong-see below). The longest ride on tidal bores in the Amazon is around 10 kilometres+ I think (Guinness Book of Records). The Zambezi River standing wave has been ridden for 10-20 minutes, I think. However, I am only interested here in ocean waves. (Tidal and standing waves on a different post maybe some other time).

I have compiled a list of the longest ocean pointbreak/reef waves that I have read about, seen, or surfed (see my sources at end).

I have added GOOGLE EARTH DISTANCE CHECKS for some (May 2007) (useful satellite maps to check surf spots etc)

 Note that many of these are not consistently this long. I have timed some of them, but not others.(Note that waves actually travel at different speeds, I timed a 300m long wave at 1 minute on a slow point, and around 500m for 1 minute on a fast point).

I will add other waves/rumours here in the future (although this post is getting long). Note there is a very good chance that in deepest darkest Africa, Chile, Siberia or somewhere else there is an unknown, longer wave than Pacasamyo or Chicama, as listed here.

Incidentally, the longest wave I have caught is 2 minutes at Chicama, which went only halfway along the point, or about 1.2km.

Below are waves said to be 2km or more (4), 1km or more (about 22), 600m or more (about 34), 500m or more (about 49), 400m or more (about 59), and 300m or more (about 100). In the whole world, there might be more than 1,000 waves 300m or more long, so this is just a fraction.

1) Pacasmayo, Peru. Max length ride estimated about 2.2-2.8km long. (GOOGLE EARTH CHECKED- 2.5KM)
Could well be the longest pointbreak in the world. The whole point is about 2.8km long, it is about a 4-4.5 minute ride on a very big, 12 feet south swell, rides have been timed at 4 minutes. There isn't many indentations or sections to the point, it is pretty lined up all the way, it just needs to be big to go right through (eg 12 feet). You also need to get off before you hit the pier. Peruvians say it is the longest pointbreak wave in the world on its day- yes even longer than Chicama (source: Peru Surf Guide, and personal observation)- and claims of riding the whole way along are apparently true. If you have seen it, it is amazing, it takes several minutes just to drive along it!. (Although the road is also pretty crap). You can't even see the whole length, it is so far. The 'Peruvian surf guide' book claims the ride is even longer than Chicama's rideable section on a big day (even though Chicama's overall headland is actually a bit longer, but it isn't all rideable-see comments below), and from personal observation Pacasmayo does look to me a bit longer than Chicama's main point.

2) Chicama, Peru. Max length ride estimated about 2.0-2.5km long.(GOOGLE EARTH CHECKED- 2.1KM)
This wave is about 1 hour south of Pacasmayo. From the main takeoff rock to the pier it is about 2.0-2.5km, I timed this wave at 4 minutes from the main point to the pier, which locals say they have ridden all the way along on one wave (it would need to be an 8 foot plus day), and estimate it at about 2.5km max. The headland goes further round the top of the main point but it doesn't ever link up to the max length of the whole cape, which is 4km. The two points further round are called 'Malpaso' (about 200m long), and 'Keys' (up to about 500m+ at 6 feet+). There are deep sections between the first three points on the 4km long cape, which stop the waves from linking up. (The main wave is actually the last 2km or so). You may be able to get a very slow wave on a really big day for the first 1km+ of the Cape, through Malpaso and towards Keys, but nobody has been able to ride the first few kilometres all the way through to the Main Point. Often the main point at about 4-6 feet has 2 x 1200m sections, called 'The Point', and 'El Hombre', both of which are fast and break for 2 minutes (I timed them), but which can link up when the sets get over about 6 feet. The sand at the top of the point moves around a bit, and I’ve even seen it start to break about another 300m further up from the main takeoff rock, in deeper water, ie towards the next point further up.

3) Superbank, Queensland. Rides have been measured at up to 1.97km, and about 3-4 minutes, all the way through to the beach at north Kirra.(GOOGLE EARTH CHECKED- 2.0KM)
Rarely links up this far. Takes in the old Snapper, Greenmount and Kirra points which have been modified by sand dredging operations at the nearby Tweed River, with sand now being dumped at the top of the Superbank, which has created the amazingly long ride, and linked up the previous 3 points into one very long sandbank. Needs to be big, and you have to be very lucky, to link up this far in one ride (eg 6-8 feet plus), but it has been done (source: Tracks magazine).

4) Ombuk Tudor, Indo, rumoured up to about 2km with tow-ins at 10 feet++, (GOOGLE EARTH CHECKED- 2.0KM)
otherwise usually only about 400m at 6-8 feet. I've seen it, it is a very long point (about 2km), but it would need to be bigger than about 8 feet to link up more than 400m. If you got a wave at 10-15 feet through the points two sections, it would be about 800m or more, more than this is rumour only, but it looks possible.

5) Barrow Island, WA. "One nautical mile" or 1.8km, when big. (Source (GOOGLE EARTH CHECKED- UNCLEAR)

6) Matachen Bay, Mexico?. 1.8km. (Internet source).
I also read this years ago in the Guinness Book of records. Haven't seen it.

7) Pavones, Costa Rica, up to about 1.5km??.
Haven't seen it, so I am not very sure about the length for this one, however a friend of mine in Peru who has surfed it said that it is not quite as long as Pacasmayo.

8) Indicators through to Manu Bay, Raglan, New Zealand, about 1.9km max.(GOOGLE EARTH CHECKED- 1.9KM TO END MANU)
Indicators can link into Whale bay for rides of about 800m+, but locals claim it has been ridden all the way into Manu Bay on a 12 feet day which would be about 1.9km.

There has been a lot of nonsense said about Raglan over the years (which started in the Endless Summer 1 movie, which said you could only catch one wave before lunch, and one wave after). There are 3, well actually 4 points. The first is accessible by boat only, called Coloseums, and is way around the cape. The second is Indicators, which breaks up to about 500m, but sometimes up to about 800m at 8 feet+, into Whale Bay. Whale Bay is about 300m long, and Manu, the last, is up to about 300m+ long. Locals claim only one person has managed to ride the three points right through on one wave, for a distance of about 1.9km. Claims of rides "over 2 miles (3.2km)" are exaggerated (eg Encyclopedia of surfing), the distance from the top of Indicators to Manu, which is very rare, is only about 1.5km, and Manu doesn't go for more than 300-400m max. Total ride length not more than 1.9km.

9) Jeffreys Bay, South Africa, up to 1-1.3km.(GOOGLE EARTH CHECKED- 1.1KM. 1.5KM TO BEACH SAND-RARE)
Claims of 5 minute rides here are exaggerated (eg Endless Summer 2 DVD), max wave time from Boneyards to the very end is about 2 minutes only, waves have been ridden from 'Boneyards' to the end of 'The Point' section on a big (8-10 foot plus) day at up to about 1-1.3km max.

10) The Cut/Lighthouse, NZ South Island, "over 1km" on the right swell,
Haven't seen it.

11) Peaks through to Shipwreck Bay, New Zealand. About 1km max.(GOOGLE EARTH CHECKED- 1KM++)
I've seen rides of about 1km+ from the top of Peaks to the bottom of Shipwrecks Bay (including down the beach a bit, making it about 1km). Needs to be big (6-8 plus). There is another point section further round called 'Supertubes' which is probably up to about 500m+ long on a very big day, which may link up to 2 other points called 'Muki 1' and 'Muki 2' (source: New Zealand Surf Guide 2004, and personal observation). The whole Cape is about 7km long, with up to about 6 or 7 seperate points.

12) Baduska, Brazil, about 1km,
Haven't seen it.

13) Gnaraloo Western Australia, 1km+
heard on the grapevine to be over 1km long, with several sections than can link up.

14) Olende, Gabon, 1km?
Haven't seen it. Guess from photo and map only

15) Cape Cross, Namibia, about 1km?
Haven't seen it. Guess from photo and map only.

16) Minutes", Nova Scotia. 1km?
Unknown length, read it can break up to 'minutes' long. From a crude look at a map it looks about 1km+ long, but it could be longer or shorter. Haven't seen it.

17) Steamer Lane, USA, Up to 1km? or more
on a big swell. Haven't seen it.

18) Point in Iceland somewhere, read on the net to be about 1km long.

19) Pointa Cabellas, southern Peru. Unknown, 1km?
I have read it is nearly as long as Chicama. (Source: Peruvian surf guide).

20) Los Lobos, up to 1km?, Canary Islands.
Haven't seen it. I met a Canary island local who said it is something like this when big.

21) Unknown point, in a strife torn 3rd world country somewhere, 1km.
I’ve no idea where it is, but I’ve seen a picture in Tracks magazine, which said it was 1km long. It’s in a desert, and it’s a righthander. My best guess is west Africa, maybe south of Morocco- Algeria?.

22) North Phillippines, Cerrero? or something, about 1km. Haven;t seen it.

23) Lennox Head, NSW up to about 800m+, (GOOGLE EARTH CHECKED- 1KM+)
all the way through to the town beachbreak on a big 15 feet day, when it also starts way out to sea. I've seen it at 12 feet in March 2006, and rides broke about 200m in front of the headland, but it tended to fizzle out about halfway along the point, after only about 400m. The distance to the town beach area with 15 feet sets is over 800m, from in front of the headland to the beach area, which looks possible, if anyone has actually done it.

24) G-Land, Indo. Up to about 800m+.(GOOGLE EARTH CHECKED- 1KM+)
Rarely links up all the way along, the rideable part of the point is about 1km long (including Kongs which goes way out to sea, through to Speedies), but it is doubtful whether anyone has ridden one wave more than about 800m. The trouble is, is that different sections of the point don't tend to link up on the one wave. I've seen 6 foot waves from the top of Kongs through Moneytrees for about 400m+, however I'm sure you could do more, perhaps up to 800m or so.

25) Figuera De Foz, Portugal, 800m+(GOOGLE EARTH CHECKED- 1KM++)
the whole point is about 800m+ long, but rarely links up, with several sections. I’ve seen it, it might even be a bit longer.

26) The Box (Broken Bay), NSW, up to 800m+ or more?.(GOOGLE EARTH CHECKED- 1.4KM)
I have heard it is up to 1500m long, however I've only seen it once, and it didn't look like it broke longer than about 800m, being very generous. I could be wrong.

27) Uluwatu Outside Corner-Indo, up to about 800m,(GOOGLE EARTH CHECKED- 1KM+)
Tom Carrol claims to have ridden this almost to Padang Padang on a 12 foot day, "almost 1km" or about 1.5 minutes long. I've seen it at 8+ feet, when its about 500m+ long, and it looks like it could get longer.

28) Libertad, El Salvador. Up to about 800m through to the town at 10 feet plus.(GOOGLE EARTH CHECKED- 1KM TO THE PIER, 800M TO BEACH)
Most 6-8 feet days are only about 200-300 long, but locals claim on a 12 feet day the whole point can link up to the town pier which is about 800m, or well over a 1 minute ride. I've seen waves go from halfway through the point all the way to the town at 6-7 feet, (about 300m+), so I also believe that you could get one all the way from the top of the point to the pier when its 10 feet plus.

29) One Palm Point, Java. 800m.
over 1 minute ride. I've heard that 'tubes' have been timed here at 48 seconds. Haven't seen it.

30) Inch Reef, Ireland, up to 800m,
according to legend (Footprint Surfing Europe). Haven't seen it.

31) Fortazela, Spain, 600m.
Long lefthander that rarely breaks. Haven't seen it.

32) Huanchaco, Peru, 600m+,
600m or more, on a big south swell. Rare for the sandbanks to be right. I've seen this long pointbreak, but it tends to section. Locals say they have ridden one wave past the pier and through to the beach, which is at least 600m.

33) Keys, Chicama, 500-600m+ at 6 feet plus. (GOOGLE EARTH CHECKED- 600M+)
Next point further around from the main point at Chicama. I’ve seen it, most good 6 foot days are about 500m long from the main takeoff rock to the end in a small bay, but it can start another 100m+ even further up the cape when bigger than 6 feet. It doesn't link up with the main, more famous point, further down (maybe at 12-15 feet?). It may even be possible at 10-12 feet to get a wave from another 600m or so further up the point, towards the top headland (Malpaso), for a ride of up to 1-1.5km, if anyone has done it, but its very doubtful. The different sections on the first 1.5km+ of the cape just don’t link up right.

34) Impossibles, Indo, up to 300-600m?,
I’ve seen it a couple of times. It gets longer and longer the bigger it gets, and with lower tides (say up to 600m? if you were very lucky), but it does tend to section badly (hence “Impossibles”). The whole point is about 1km+ long, but it is very doubtful you could get one wave right through from the top.

There are thousands of waves in the world once you get down around the 300-500m mark, those listed are only the ones I have surfed, heard or read about. (In Australia alone, I’ve listed about 26 waves that are 300 or more long, but there is probably at least twice this, and much more in places like Chile, West Africa, Central America etc).

35) Wategos, Australia, up to 500m or so at 6+feet. This is a slow moving wave that breaks way out to sea in a large bay when big, and is discontinuous. It might even get longer, but its pretty slow and uneven.

36) Boiling Pot through to Johnsons, Noosa, Australia, 500m+.
Haven’t seen it.

37) Rincon, USA, up to 500m,
I have read up to 800m on a big day, but other sources say only up to 500m. Haven't seen it.

38) Supertubes, New Zealand, up to 500m+?.
I've seen this wave only once, and also from what I have read it looks like it could be this long, or even longer on a big day, breaking through to 'Muki' 1 and 'Muki 2'. It is about 1-2km further around from Peaks and Shipwreck Bay.

39) Pichelemu, Chile, 500m?
Haven't seen it.

40) Safi, Morocco, up to 500m.
Haven't seen it.

41) Lorne Point, Victoria, sources say up to 500m, but very rare to be this long.

42) Double Island Pt, Queensland, up to about 500m?
Haven't seen it.

43) Boca Barranca, Costa Rica, 500m?
Haven't seen it. A guess only.

43.5) Punta Lobos Chile. 500m+  (GOOGLE EARTH CHECKED- 1KM TO BEACH)
Haven't seen it. Some sources say longer

44) Rifles, Indo, up to about 400-500m+. (GOOGLE EARTH CHECKED- 600-800M+)
I've seen it break over this distance at 4-8 feet, but it would have to be pretty big to be much longer (ie 8-10 plus), with a bit of rare south-southeast in the swell also. If you got one right through towards the sand it might be a little more (say 800m?), but it is doubtful to me it would ever link up this far, as it just runs out of steam and also gets too shallow in the last half of the point. It also tends to section anyway, especially towards the end.

45) Tassie Superbank, (Boneyards) Tasmania, up to 500m or so,
Haven't seen it. (Source Tracks Magazine).

46) Anchor Point, Morocco, up to about 500m?, probably taking in several points, maybe less or more, as I haven't seen it.

47) Blacknose and Crumpets, West Victoria, up to 500m+, rare, haven't seen it.

48) The Pass, Byron Bay NSW, up to about 500m+ right through to the beach,
on a rare big east to north swell. The last 300m of the wave is soft.

49) Nusa Dua, Bali up to about 300-500m+, at 10 feet, but often discontinuous.
It can probably get even longer than this, as the whole reef is about 800m+ long, but as said, it tends to break in distinct sections. I’ve seen it at 10 feet.

50) Ujung Bocur, Sumatra, 400m max,
on a bigger day. I've seen it, it tends to section. The point is actually longer than this, but there is a big closeout peak about 400m from the takeoff area. After this it gets too shallow and closes out.

51) Millers Point, /Tarimbang, Sumba. 400m?
I read it to be about 400m, but not sure, it could be more.

52) Honolua Bay, Hawaii, up to 400m or more?, at 15 feet+, with tow ins.
Haven't seen it. Several sections link up when its really big with tow ins, so it may get longer.

53) Jaws Lefts, Hawaii, 400m or more? Long lefts when the swell has more west. Haven't seen it.

54) Mavericks, USA, up to 400m at 30 feet+.
Haven't seen it.

55) Kongs, G-Land, Indo, usually breaks separately to the rest of the point, up to about 400m or so on a big day, but may link up with the rest of the point for up to about an 800m ride? if you were really lucky (see G-Land above).

56) Herradura Peru, 300-400m+. (GOOGLE EARTH CHECKED- 600M+)
Haven't seen it, from photos (looks like about 300m+) and rumour only.

57) Crescent Head, NSW, up to about 300-400m to the sand. I've seen it.

58) Guthery, France, up to 300-400m+
on a big day. I've seen it break over this distance at 10 feet.

59) Manu Pt, New Zealand, up to 300-400m, from Boneyards to the end.
It can link up with Whale Bay and Indicators further up on a really big day for up to about a 1.5km ride, but this is very rare (see Indicators above). It ends in deep water several hundred metres from the beach.

60) Kandui, Indo, up to 300m or more,
on a big day. I've seen it.

61) Desert Point, Indo, 400m
I've seen it, closes out towards the very end, but 400m rides are possible.

62) Centinela, Peru, 300m.
Needs the right sand banks to go this far. I've seen it, the second half of the wave is pretty slow.

63) Kon Tiki, Peru, about 300m+.
I've seen it, it is a deep ocean reef that breaks over quite a distance when over 10 feet.

64) Treasure Island, Indo. 300m,
World Stormrider Guide Volume 2 claims this wave is up to 1km long, but I've seen it, and it isn't, at least since after the earthquake of March 2005, which has lifted the reef. It doesn't break longer than about 300m on a big day.

65) Winkipop, Victoria. 300m+ on a big day. I've only seen it a few times. Some sources say up to 500m.

66) Scotts Head, NSW. 300m or more.
I read it breaks up to 300-500m on a big day, but I doubt it. Only seen it once.

67) Zunzal, El Salvador. 300m max.(GOOGLE EARTH CHECKED- 250M)
on a 12 foot day. I've seen it, it's a nice long wave when its big, breaking way out the back to the sand.

68) Killers, Morocco, 300m.
Haven't seen it.

69) Sanur, Indo, up to 300m on a big day. I’ve seen it at 6-8 feet over about 250m.

70) Kumari, Andamans/Nicobar islands. Up to 300m, before the earthquake of 2004. May not break at all anymore, as the reef was apparently lifted out of the water.

71) Lynmouth, UK, 300m+.
Haven't seen it, but the photo I've seen looks even longer, with two sections, more like 500m.

72) Motu River mouth, New Zealand, 300m+,
Haven't seen it.

73) Seconds NZ, several hundred metres,
Haven't seen it.

74) Whatarangi Station, NZ, 300m,
haven't seen it.

75) Managamanu, NZ, 300m
Haven't seen it.

76) Papatowai, NZ, 300m
haven't seen it.

77) Mundaka, Spain, up to about 300m
Haven't seen it.

78) Loji, Java, 300m,
haven't seen it.

79) Pico, Alto Peru, 300m or more,
Apparently this huge ocean reef is a long wave when on.

80) Bermejo, Peru, up to 300m.
Haven't seen it.

81) Punta Tur, Peru, 300m?
according to Peru Surf Guide several hundred metres. Haven't seen it.

82) Nonur, Peru. 300m?
according to Peru Surf Guide, several hundred metres. Haven't seen it.

83) Poemape, Peru, 300m.
I've seen this wave, it can break well into the bay for about 300m when big, but no more.

84) Lobitos, Peru, up to 300m or more,
Apparently when the banks are right (eg winter 2005, local comments) it can link up with the point further round, for quite a long ride.Haven't seen it.

85) Immessoune, 300m+, Morocoo.
Haven't seen it.

86) Cape St Francis, South Africa, up to 300m?
I've only seen it once, and it didn't look like it broke more than about 200-300m, although it may have been longer in the past; apparently the point has been modified by both harbour works, and houses which stop the sand from building up on the shoreline. The point is much longer than how far the wave actually breaks.

87) Saltwater Pt, NSW, up to about 300m through to the sand. I’ve seen it break nearly this distance at 5-6 feet.

88) Sandon Pt, NSW, up to about 400m at 10 feet and an east swell,(GOOGLE EARTH CHECKED- 500M)
through to the inside beach.

89) Cabarita, NSW, up to 300m+
right through to the beach, but it usually sections. I’ve seen it break this distance at 6+ feet.

90) Trapdoors, NSW, up to 300m.
Haven't seen it.

91) North Point, WA, up to 300m?
Some sources say up to 500m but I doubt it, I’ve only seen it once.

92) Bells, Victoria, up to about 300m at 10 foot plus,
starting way outside. Some people claim it has linked up with Winkipop at 15 feet, for about an 800m ride, but I very much doubt it.

93) Hyatt Reef, Indo, up to 300m? I read this somewhere, haven’t seen it.

94) Stalins Left, 300m,
My name for an un-named, heavy left on Simeulue island, Indo, which went for up to about 300m or more at 6-12 feet+, but very discontinuously, over a point about 500m+ long. It wasn’t actually very good.

95) Bonsai Island Reef, 300m,
My name for an un-named right on Simeulue island, Indo, which went for up to about 300m at 6-8 feet.

96) Currumbin, 300m.
Haven’t seen it.

97) Cylinders, Qld, 300m+ or more, haven’t seen it.

98) Burleigh, Qld, up to 300m through to the sand.
Normally only about 100m, but if you got a bigger wave from out the back through to the beach sand it might be about 300m long.

99) Broken Head, NSW, up to 300m,
when the banks are right. I’ve seen it break over this distance, from the outside rocks to the beach, when the sand is right, at 4-8 feet.

Any others???

Some Sources: (Note: I've found most sources overestimate lengths by about 25%, so if they say a wave breaks for 400m it may only break up to 300m).

Personal Observation and Locals
World Stormrider Guides, Volume 1 and 2
Peru Surf Guide
Wavefinder Indonesia (2005)
New Zealand Surf Guide (2004)
Tom Carrol's biography
100 World's Best surf spots (book)
Tracks Magazine
Atlas of Australian Surfing
Surfing Australia Action guide
Surfing Indonesia Action guide
Some internet sites.
Surfers Travel Guide Australia 2005
Surfing Europe, Footprint guide.
Encyclopedia of Surfing
Wavefinder Guide, USA and Hawaii
Wavefinder Guide Australia
Wavefinder Guide, Central America
Surfing Victoria (book)


Last Updated ( Friday, 07 September 2007 )
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