Waves: a liquid 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 the 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.

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:

Wave: surfers must negotiate all energy zones differently

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.

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