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The difference between a beach break, point break and reef break

Surf Tales General

The difference between a beach break, point break and reef break


N 52° 22′ 12.778″  E 4° 53′ 42.605″ 

In an earlier post I have presented a long list of surf terms to you. After receiving a number of very enthusiastic responses, I decided to go into specific, important surf terms in various articles. In this article I will explain the difference between the three different breaks that distinguish surf spots: beach break, reef break and point break. I will also list the pros and cons for each break type, and I will give examples of known surf spots for each break type.

In case – after reading this article – you would feel even more stoked to go on a surf holiday, you might as well check out our total offer with the best surf camps. In case you still have no to very little experience in surfing, we advise you to have a look at our article with the 10 best spots for beginning surfers in Europe.

What is a Beach break?

A beach break you will encounter at sandy beaches. The waves of a beach break breaks because of a sandbank that lies off the coast. The big advantage is that – unlike a reef break – there is sand on the bottom. This makes it relatively harmless to fall off your board and / or jump (however, you are still advised to remain careful). Beginning surfers will almost always receive lessons on a beach break. A disadvantage is that beach breaks always cause undercurrents.

Well-known beach breaks are: Hossegor in France, Bells Beach in Australia and Muizenberg in South Africa.

What is a Reef break?

At a reef break breaking waves arise because of a reef or rocky seafloor. An advantage is that the waves are often of excellent quality; the epic images of perfect tubes that appear in surf films are often included in reef breaks. A major disadvantage is that a reef often originates from coral. A serious surfer will – of course – never want to destroy coral. In addition, the stings of coral and / or other rocky points can cause a lot of pain. A reef break is therefore not very suitable for beginning surfers.

Famous reef breaks are: Cloudbreak in Fiji, Jaws in Maui en Pipeline in Hawaii.

What is a Point break?

The waves of a point break break because of a rock or headland that protrudes into the ocean, after which the waves roll into a bay. This situation can in many cases lead to waves rolling on much longer than with beach breaks and reef breaks. The surface of a point break can be both sand, reef and rocks.

Famous point breaks are: Byron Bay en Surfers Paradise in Australië, Jardim do Mar op Madeira en Ollies Point in Costa Rica.

Thomas Oosterhof

Via mijn studie Tourism Management ben ik terecht gekomen bij SurfaWhile. Waar ik elke dag meer leer over het surfen, en het verkopen van surfreizen. Door het schrijven van artikelen over surfvakanties, ervaringen en prachtige surfbestemmingen zorg ik er voor dat jij goed voorbereid op surfvakantie gaat!

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