Discover the 11 stages of the World Surfing Championship

Discover the 11 stages of the World Surfing Championship

What will you see in this post?

  • 1. Gold Coast - Australia
  • 2. Margaret River - Australia
  • 3. Bell’s Beach - Australia
  • 4. Rio Pro (Saquarema) - Brazil
  • 5. Fiji Pro - Fiji
  • 6. Jeffrey’s Bay - South Africa
  • 7. Teahupo’o - Tahiti
  • 8. Trestles (California) - USA
  • 9. Hossegor - France
  • 10. Moche - Portugal
  • 11. Pipeline (Hawaii) - USA

After explaining how the World Surfing Championship (WCT) works, I think there is nothing more fair than talking a little bit about the peaks where the stages of the most important world surfing championship take place. After all, that surfer doesn't dream of surfing the same waves as Kelly, John John, Irons, Fanning and Medina, right?

how the World Surfing Championship (WCT) works

The tour consists of 11 stages (events), where the best surfers in the world, men and women “supposedly” surf the best waves in 11 different spots in the most remote and exotic places around the planet…. Easy, I’ll explain why I’m supposed to. Of course it is a matter of taste, but for example, one of the stages took place in Barra da Tijuca and I do not know if it can be said that there are waves worthy of the world, we will agree that there is a lot better wave in this Brasilzão than the barriques waves, Is not it? But this year this stage was transferred to Saquarema, due to the quality of the wave and sea water.

It is worth remembering that some stages can be “mobile”, that is, they can happen in more than one place, to ensure that the competition takes place in the best possible conditions. They are: Gold Coast, Margaret River, Rio, Fiji, France, Portugal and Cascais.

Australia is the only country where there is not one or two, but three stages of the surfing world. A place where surfing is a culture and not just a sport, where the climatic and seabed conditions provide all kinds of waves, small, medium, large, long or tubular, that roll all year round. Beach breaks in Sydney, long and perfect right in the Gold Coast region, dozens of stone bottoms in the Victoria area, river outlets and coral bottoms in West Australia. A real surfing paradise.

So let's get down to business…

Gold Coast, Queensland - Australia - 1st stage Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

There are approximately 450 km of coastline, with some of the best point breaks in the world. Almost all of them could easily be peaks in the stages of the surfing world, for you to see the luxury of the place.

Let's focus on the main ones.

Burleigh Heads - The classic right is perfect, very long and tubular. Always with a lot of Crowd. When the sea does not contribute to the batteries of Kirra or Snapper Rocks, the stage is usually transferred to Burleigh. Stone bottom, with waves up to 300 meters long on the best days, ideal with southeast swell and northwest and west winds.

The Spit, Main Beach, Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach, Miami and Nobby - They are actually a single beach, which are given different names according to the name of the neighborhood in front. When conditions are favorable, there is reasonable surfing. Very similar to Barra da Tijuca Beach. The Spit marks the beginning of the anti-shark nets that are positioned about 500 meters from the sand. When the sea is small and without currents, these beaches are good for learning to surf.

Kirra - According to many “Pros”, Australians and foreigners (including Kelly Slater), Kirra is one of the best right-wing waves in the world. It is long, extremely tubular, and fast, whether the sea is large or small. When it's classic, it's hard to see amateurs in the water. Kirra breaks over corals that enter the inlet.

Greenmount, Rainbow Bay, Snappers Rocks - Next to Kirra, there is a sequence of 2 perfect right points. Snappers Rocks is the most outside, breaking into stone, and holding a good sized swell. Dolphins will almost always be your partners on the wave, despite many surfers too. Rainbow Bay comes next, breaking half into stone and half into sand. Greenmount is the last of the cove ending on the beach. The oldest people in the sport say that under certain conditions, the 2 points will be amended, generating a very long ride. They are both good for boards and boards. Some waves intubate, but most do not.

Duranbah - This is undoubtedly the most popular beach among Gold Coast surfers. The reason is that there are always waves, as it faces south, from where many of the swells are generated. It doesn't matter how big the sea is. Be it big, small or minimal, Duranbah always has waves for both sides, almost always well formed, short, perfect and tubular. It is always crowded, but there is a wave for everyone. The beach is protected by a breakwater that generates great rights, and in the middle, isolated peaks along the entire length of the beach complete the scene.

Margaret River - 2nd stage Australia Drug Aware Margaret River Pro

Margaret is one of the moving stages of the championship. The main peak is the Main Break and the backup is The Box. Best time  to surf   in Margaret is from September to April, when the spring, summer and Margaret River Pro swells coincide.

Main Break - Located in Surfers Point the iconic Reef Break is known for its big waves and solid swells. The coral bottom left are hundreds of meters out of the outside and are surfed in swells of 4 meters or more. When it's big, Main is definitely for experienced surfers. The left tends to be the dominant wave and in some conditions heavy tubes roll. Depending on the size of the wave it opens well and has a very heavy lip.

Reef break

The Box - About 800m north of Main there is this heavy and intense right-hand tube called The Box, (the box), which got its name because the wave pulls the water up so fast and hard that it is square when smash. Better conditions roll in the west swells ranging from five to eight feet, east winds with medium to high tide. The Box favors the right-handed. There is no left wave there.

Bells Beach, Victoria- Australia - 3rd Stage Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach

100 km away from Melbourn, near the city of Torquay, it is a coastal town in the state of Vitória. High cliffs provide a dramatic backdrop to the beach's natural amphitheater and large waves from the Southern Ocean slow down and open up over shallow coral bottom creating excellent surf. Bells is recommended for experienced surfers. The bottom is coral with perfect rights. The best surfing season is in autumn and winter.

Rio Pro 4th Stage - Saquarema - Brazil

In 2017 the event was transferred to Itaúna Beach in Saquarema due to issues such as the quality of waves and sea water in recent years.

Itaúna has high waves, it is the peak where the biggest waves in the state of RJ break. The size of the waves varies from 0.5m to 3.5m, the bottom is sandy with long and maneuverable lefts and dug rights that open towards the channel. Temperatures are mild on average and rainfall is rare. Another interesting feature of the peak of this stage of the surfing world is that when a large swell enters and the sea is over two meters high, the waves gain even more perfection, opening for hundreds of meters from the left corner to the sand. In addition to the clear tubes. Excellent choice of location for Rio Pro in our opinion. Good for amateur and more experienced surfers depending on the light size.

Fiji Pro - 5th Stage

Fiji is an archipelago located in the Pacific Ocean, with wave and hot water all year round. Even though it is an extremely constant place, the best time is from March to October (winter there), with waves that vary from 2 to 18 feet. The best known peaks and the best waves are Cloudbreak and Restaurants, where this stage of the surfing world takes place. Both are in Nadi on the island of Tavarua, are left, coral bottom and for experienced surfers.

Cloudbreak is a tubular left with two sessions that breaks 2km from Tavarua, the bigger the swell the more tubular it gets.

Restaurants is another perfect left, super maneuverable and with a tube section. It can be very shallow in the dry tide which makes it very dangerous because of the bottom of coral and rocks.

Jeffreys Bay - 6th stage J-Bay Open - South Africa

Perhaps the best known surfing peak in Africa. Remember where Mick Fanning was attacked by a shark in the middle of the heat? So, it's right there ... But sharks can appear in various places in the stage, such as Margaret for example and to try to reduce this risk, several measures will be adopted by ASP, from the well-known shark-shields, to monitoring with drones, helium balloons and cameras fixed in the water.

J-Bay is a very long beach, where 23 different surf sessions break. When the sea is big they can join. It starts up there with Boneyards with a heavy and fast wave. The next session is the famous Supertubes or Supers, where the world stage takes place, with long, fast and often tubular waves of 4 to 8 feet that roll all year round. When it's big the wave goes through several sessions to Town Beach, with more than 1km of wave. The bottom is sand and rocks. Then there are Salad Bowls, Tubes, The Point, with fatter and slower waves, and Albatross, with a  sandy bottom   and more inconsistent, you need bigger swells to break, but when you get in it gets good.

Teahupo’o - 7th Stage Billabong Pro Tahiti

Teahupoo’o the translation means “broken skulls” is a village on the southwest coast of Tahiti, French Polynesia in the South Pacific Ocean. Known as the heaviest wave in the world and also the most dangerous. This reputation is due to the immense size, the amount of indescribable water and the speed of the wave combined with a bottom of very sharp coral just a few meters deep and oh, sharks. Yes,  to surf   this perfect, dug and dangerous tube you have to be very experienced and very brave, because a mistake can be fatal. But if you fit that description, you can reach the peak located approximately 1 km from the coast, rowing for 15 minutes or by boat.

The sudden difference in depth is one of the factors that cause these waves so heavy, with so much volume of water.

Trestles –8th Stage Hurley Pro - California USA

Located on the beach of San Onofre, in the city of São Clemente, Trestles has four different surf spots:

  • Cottons - With long lefts good for beginners and longboards.
  • Upper - where they break more rights.
  • Lower - It is the most consistent break and where the surfing world rolls with fast waves that open to both sides with fast and intense rights and maneuverable and fun lefts. Trestles work well at any tide, but at high tide the waves get faster and more tubular. The size of the waves varies from 1.6 to 3.0 meters.
  • Middles - They are weak and inconsistent rights.
  • Church - Good long rights for longboards.

All of these breaks have a stone bottom, but the depth is good so just be careful not to get hurt.

France - 9th Stage France Pro - Hossegor

Hossegor, one of the heaviest breaks in Europe, is also called the French Pipeline, due to the similarity with the Hawaiian waves. Due to an underwater canyon, which reaches depths of 4000 meters close to the coast, this wave reaches the beach practically without losing energy from the high seas. Due to its potential in generating cavernous and sinister tubes, this stage is one of the most awaited by tuberiders on the world circuit. In general, this wave breaks both ways. But of course it depends a lot on how the bench is on the day (sandy bottom), time of the tide, wind and wave direction.

Portugal - 10th Stage Moche Rip Curl Pro - Peniche

The peak chosen in the Peniche sea for this stage of the surfing world is Supertubos, a beach famous for its fast and tubular waves with a  sandy bottom   that can reach 3 meters. The predominant NE winds smooth the sea and prolong the time when the surfer can “intubate”. The waves at Supertubos break both left and right and are for experienced surfers.

Pipeline - 11th Stage Billabong Pipe Masters - USA

This is the last leg of the ASP World tour and the most traditional of them. The world title decision site has two peaks, Pipeline and Backdoor, which break on the same beach called Banzai Pipeline. Pipeline is a right wave and a Left Backdoor. Usually the two peaks do not work at the same time, but when that happens, choose one of them to roll the championship, as the two waves are distant and require different positioning by the surfers. The Pipeline sea has three different reefs / benches with different distances from the beach. The classic Pipeline wave can break in the first and the second reef. Depending on the direction of the swell, the size of the wave and other variables, the wave starts to happen in the third reef and changes its name a little bit - it becomes Banzai Pipeline. The very shallow bottom of the coral makes the pipe waves quick but also dangerous, any carelessness or fall can hurt a lot.

Frequently Asked Questions

What distinguishes each of the 11 stages of the World Surfing Championship, and how do they collectively shape the championship?
Each stage of the World Surfing Championship is distinguished by its location, wave type, and local conditions, offering diverse challenges to surfers. Collectively, these stages test surfers’ adaptability and skills in various surfing environments, shaping the overall championship.

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