5 More Novelty Waves: The 2020 Hit List

Matt Rode

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Updated 18d ago

A couple of years back, we curated a collection of the world’s wildest novelty waves, including wedges, bore tides, and iconic backdrops on our list, just to name a few -- see there HERE.

Then, right when we thought we’d covered everything, “foil waves” became the new dream setup, Ben Gravy slid his way through 50 US states, Dylan Graves created a vlog based exclusively around weird waves, and Mason Ho surfed every rock-strewn closeout on Oahu. With the freak wave fervour at an all-time high, we figured it was time to update our list with five more of the world’s most bizarre breaks.

Zambezi River

There are a lot of stationary waves located in rivers around the world, many of which get “surfed” by kayakers, and a few of which have actually seen communities of board surfers spring up around them. But the stationary wave on the Zambezi River is easily the best and most powerful of the lot, and the only one that regularly produces a rideable barrel. The fact that it’s located in Zambia only makes it harder to access, upping the novelty factor. Check out our spot guide for Central Africa, HERE.

Kenai Fjords

Perhaps the most recently documented trip to Alaska.

Glacier waves are the new bore tides—an en vogue platform for far-out pros who make their living chasing weird shit. Alaska is the obviously choice for glacier surfing, since it has lots of…glaciers…and the Kenai Fjords are as good a place as any to start. All you need is a decent bank or point with proper glacial fetch, a guide like Scott Dickerson from Surf Alaska to point you in the right direction, and a bit of patience. Want to know where to surf? See our spot guide, HERE.

Galveston, Texas

Of course, JOB's in the mix when it comes to novelty waves.

People have been surfing the wake off of tankers for decades, but that doesn’t make doing so any less of a novelty act. Galveston Bay, Texas, is ground zero for tanker surfing, and rides there are measured in miles rather than meters. With foil boards redefining what is surfable, expect wake to continue to grow in popularity over the next few years. Spot guide to Texas, HERE.

Ke Iki Shorebreak

Ke Iki has been a North Shore staple for decades—but traditionally only for psychotic spongers and dedicated bodywhompers. Soft-top surfboards changed all that, and these days you are just as likely to see suicidal kids packing triple-up sand dredgers standing up. Earlier this season, Matahi Drollet took Ke Iki antics to the logical extreme, packing what was arguably the best shore break barrel ever.

Wave Pools

It doesn’t matter how many different wave pool options there are these days (Surf Ranch, the various Wavegardens and Coves, BSR Waco, that weird plunger thing in Australia), or how good the waves have gotten—it was novelty when Rick Kane did it, and it’s still novelty today.