Waves: an enigma that stores different energy levels | Photo: Shutterstock

Without waves, surfers are nothing. Take a look at the different energy zones that make a wave the ultimate resource for water sports enthusiasts.

The ocean produces four types of breaking waves, and the majority of them are rideable from a surfing perspective.

From the moment wind produces the first ripples until they reach the coastline, waves are in constant mutation, evolution, and change.

A wave is a complex mechanism that is continuously interacting with surrounding elements, accumulating and dissipating energy from birth to death.

Surfers live for the moment before a wave breaks and morphs into a moving sheet of whitewater. So, what happens when we freeze that moment or photograph it?

Near breaking waves reveal the secrets surfer want to perceive for their memorable rides. They're called "energy zones," the areas of a wave that store different types of liveliness.

Wave: surfers must negotiate all energy zones differently

Call it places where surfers need to be, or regions that should be avoided at all costs. From the top of a wave to its bottom, here are its fundamental energy zones:

1. The Lip: the top of a wave is an unstable region - it can be ridden but will, sooner or later, evolve into a chandelier;

2. The Chandelier: also known as the falling lip, it is a powerful and unpredictably unstable energy zone of a wave that is thrown forward as the wave breaks;

3. The Pocket: also known as the curl, it's the optimal energy zone from a surfing point-of-view - the place where a surfer should stay to get maximum speed;

4. The Open Face: a medium energy zone where surfers can perform maneuvers or get back to the pocket of the wave to regain speed - it is less hollow than the curl and easier to negotiate;

5. The Shoulder: a weak energy zone that surfers tend to avoid, or stay for a long period of time because it will put an end to the ride - it should only be accessed and used as an exit area for tube rides;

6. The Impact Zone: the area where the falling lip of the wave lands and crashes - a dangerous zone that may put your gear and health in jeopardy;

7. The Flats: the nearly horizontal and flat zone located in front of the breaking wave - an area that will slow down surfboards except if a surfer is performing a bottom turn;

8. The Whitewater: the foam of a broken wave, or the end of the line for a roller - a turbulent, low-to-medium energy zone, depending on the size of the wave;

Discover the anatomy of the ocean wave.