Seven secret surf spots
The IDK, Mentawai Islands
“I call the wave the 'IDK', which is short for 'I don't know' because it just doesn't have a name – it's that much of a secret. I only surfed it once, on a Ripcurl Boat trip, when this crazy captain took us out there,” said 17-year-old Tyler Wright, who was crowned the 2011 ASP Women's World Tour Rookie of the Year (her brother Owen won the same award for men in 2010). “These incredible waves were coming from really deep water, pitching so far out that they formed these perfect cylinders that set you up for riding the best barrels. They were really challenging at first and I had to psych myself up, especially after getting smashed into the reef. I kept at it and got some of the sickest waves – and worst beatings – of my life. Totally worth it.”
Getting there: No, easy X marks the spot here. The best advice is to charter a boat from Quest 1. See if long-time surf guide Captain Albert Taylor is available, then ask to go to the southern-most part of the islands, which are situated just west of Indonesia in the Indian Ocean. “It's a secret spot, so that's all you're getting from me,” Wright said. Make sure there is a chef on board who will cook up deliciousness and slice open coconuts for you while you rip.
Outer Atolls, Maldives
“We called it 'Crab Claw' because we didn't know the name of the wave, which was an awesome righthander with a wall and barrel section that wrapped around a stranded island,” said Australia's 27-year-old Adam Melling, who dominated at the 2011 O’Neill Cold Water Classic in New Zealand. “The water was crystal clear and super warm – pretty much a surfer's paradise.”
Getting there: “It took a day and a half by boat to get to the Outer Atolls, some 300 miles south of the capital, Male,” said Melling, who recalls staying on an old pirate-looking ship where he passed the time on deck drinking beers and playing backgammon. “It was rad because we were so far from civilization, but still there were locals – right in the middle of nowhere.” Most surf charters will do boat trips around the atolls, which are also frequented by divers because of the area’s crystal clear water.
Queensbury Point, South Africa
“I remember my first surf out at Queensbury Point, right outside my childhood home – I couldn't have been older than eight,” said 24-year-old Rosy Hodge, who ranked ninth on the ASP Women's World Tour in 2009. “I paddled out with my dad and went straight out to the back line. I was so stoked to be out there with the older guys, catching the best waves. I still get that feeling when I'm back home trading waves with my dad. There's a comfort in your home break, but, at the same time, Queensbury is a place you can never master.”
Getting there: The powerful, wild, righthand point break is located in East London, 300 km from Port Elizabeth, in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. Stick around for the beautiful sunset on the nearby Kwelera tidal river, and look out for the gregarious giraffe named Abby (she belongs to the neighbouring Areena Riverside Resort).
Palikir Pass, Pohnpei (Micronesia)
“I've caught the most fun waves of my life at P-Pass – short for Palikir Pass – which is off Pohnpei, a lush, tropical island in Micronesia,” said Los Angeles-native Anastasia Ashley, 25, the 2010 Women's Pipeline champion. “The water is absolutely beautiful, crystal clear and warm. I definitely got some high quality barrels and waves, plus awesome surf photos and bad sunburn out there.”