How to search and find a secret surf spot

Secret spots: surf is where you find it | Photo: Shutterstock

Digital maps and satellite images have shown us the world from the sky, but there are still secret spots left untouched by the voracious surfing community.

A dreamy right-hand point break, an incredibly fast left-hand beach break, or a heavenly sent A-frame peak working on all swells and tides. Secret spots are always unique.

They are undoubtedly special because no one has surfed them before and because you've got the wave just for yourself.

Of course, you'll say, "It's all been discovered and surfed; secret spots don't exist anymore."

We understand your point, but that isn't exactly right. Some breaks only work a handful of days per year, and some regions have just been ruled out because someone said so.

The surf radar is controlled by greedy humans, and humans make mistakes too.

And then, all of a sudden: a random sandbank changes everything, a newly-built pier creates a wave machine, a small rocky island hides a perfect peeling wave, and a coastal erosion event produces a world-class roller.

You'll be surprised how many times it will happen at your doorstep. All you have to do is study and search before discovering and surfing.

And remember: If you find it, you can name it. Are you going on surfing holidays? Learn how to plan a surf trip.

Here's the ultimate strategy to find a secret surf spot:

1. Open Google Maps

It will help you spot coastal areas, beaches, river mouths, and offshore regions with surfing potential.

Remember that the bird's eye view might be outdated.

2. Ask Yourself How Far You Are Willing to Travel to Find Surf

Draw a radius on Google Maps and confine your search to a particular area.

To get things started, set your early explorations to short-to-medium travels.

3. Check the Swell Direction, Wave Height, and Swell Period for the Region

If you want to find a secret spot, make sure there's enough swell running.

4. Browse Locally for Natural and Artificial Obstacles

Piers, groins, unusual coastal geomorphological characteristics, cliffs, cobblestones, and buildings often hide secret gems.

5. Identify Potentially Hidden Opportunities

Analyze the whitewater rollers spotted by the satellites and available via Google Maps, and consider zones that might pump waves with a specific swell direction.

6. Set an Ideal Tide Time

Don't let the high or low tide fool you.

Program your surf explorations - mid-tide levels can be good indicators.

7. Invite a Friend

A friend in need is a friend indeed, but there is always something magical when you share the stoke of surfing a spot for the first time with a friend.

8. Get in the Car and Drive to the Secret Spot

Prioritize your choices, and commit to your previously planned strategy - don't waste time.

9. Spend Time Observing the Breaking of the Waves

There's a paramount rule of thumb in surfing - observe the waves three minutes per foot;

10. Surf It, but Don't Share It

Surf is where you find it, and if you're having it all for yourself, then resist social sharing impulse.

Mavericks was kept secret for 15 years.

Now that you've found a secret surf spot, learn how to keep it secret.