Mundaka: a rare drop into perfection | Photo: Jose de la Mar

They're former surf spots. There's no surf in there anymore - death to dreams of perfect waves. Man destroys what nature makes.

Humans have continuously been destroying some of the best surf spots in the world.

Multiple high-quality breaks from Asia to America have lost the battle against marinas, urban runoff, oil spills, fishing, ports, military bases, and industrial development.

Yes, we've lost world-class wave peaks. Sometimes, a perfect ride was destroyed in less than 24 hours.

Hardly any surf spot wins a battle against progress or what decision-makers call progress.

For many governors, mayors, presidents, and prime ministers, the economy of surfing is still a vague hippie concept.

For many, the loss and destruction of surfing sanctuaries are a matter of numbers.

Save the Waves Coalition and many organized groups have kept the discussion in the spotlight so that people who don't surf may understand what's at stake.

You can't resurrect a lost wave. Extinct surf spots are like species - you can't bring back the original surf breaks.

Damaging perfect waves is killing them slowly.

Now, take a look at quintessential surfing treasures that were irretrievably lost:

Fukushima, Japan | March 11, 2011

Fukushima: the Japanese radioactive surf spot

Fukushima was once one of the best surf spots in Japan. On March 11, 2011, a tsunami caused a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi complex.

In a matter of days, the local surfing community knew radiation had taken control of the spot for decades or centuries.


Molle, Sweden | 2011

Molle: a classic example of an harbor that kills a wave

Surfing in Sweden is as rare as snow in the Sahara desert.

The beautiful surf spot at Mölle's Harbor mouth in Skåne attracted surfers from all over the country and Denmark.

A breakwater built to protect the harbor boat put an end to the dream wave.


Harry's, Mexico | August 2005

Harry's: a former Mexican big wave treasure

Harry's was a famous big wave surf spot in Baja, Mexico.

Sempra Energy and Shell Oil built a jetty to protect their 700 million-dollar LNG terminal. Within days, the magnificent wave was buried forever.


Ponta Delgada, Madeira | 2005

Ponta Delgada: when swimming pools are more important than waves

Ponta Delgada was a perfect left-hander point break in Madeira, a Portuguese island lost in the Atlantic Ocean.

The local authorities decided to build a jetty to protect the newly constructed saltwater swimming pool. Wave lost - no more surf tourism.


Mundaka, Spain | 2003

Mundaka: the endless barrels are gone

Mundaka was one of the best barreling waves in the world.

When the local authorities decided to remove 300,000 cubic meters of sand so ships could transit, the ocean floor was damaged, and Mundaka no longer fired the good old barrels.


Male Point, Maldives

Male: concrete tetrapods killed surfing

Giant concrete tetrapods have surrounded the tiny island of Male in the Maldives.

Coastal armoring has killed the Male Point.


The Cove, Washington | March 23, 1994

The Cove: a tragic jetty story

The Cove was a consistent A-frame wave peak.

After a powerful winter storm, a breach was formed in the adjacent south jetty, causing fast erosion in the area.

The breach was filled; the wave was condemned.


Stanley's Reef, California | 1970

Stanley's Reef: when freeway destroys a jewel | Photo: Bill Delaney

Stanley's Reef offered perfect left and right-hand barrels breaking over kelp beds, but a new freeway on-ramp destroyed its qualities.

Boulders were dropped, and waves were gone forever.


Killer Dana, California | August 29, 1966

Killer Dana: only memories have survived

Killer Dana was the ultimate longboarding wave. It was located off Dana Point and broke close to the rocks.

In 1966, the Army Corp of Engineers closed it to all marine activities to build a recreational harbor for the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce.


Petacalco, Mexico | August 1975

Petacalco: progress is not always good

Petacalco was a perfect A-frame barrel located at the mouth of the Rio Balsas in Mexico.

Everything happened quickly when Japanese businesspeople decided to build the largest steel mill in a third-world country.

Jetties, harbors, and a hydroelectric dam were added to destroy the surfers' dream wave.


Flood Control, California | The 1940s

Flood Control: Long Beach lost a unique powerful wave

Flood Control easily held the biggest of south swells.

This was the place to be if you were looking for perfect 20-foot wave faces. But unfortunately, a swell-blocking harbor was built, and the idyllic spot was lost.

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