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Mystery: 5 Waves That Just Disappeared!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Can waves be decommissioned? Surf media says yes!

Just two days ago, I saw a husky old-timer who asked me if I’d like to buy some digital photos.

The description of his photographs sounded wonderful. It was a sequence and featured a young, and fairly it, surfer descending the ladder into a big tube.

“Ours,” I asked.

“Yeah,” he replied, looking like an awful wreck.

“Couldn’t sell ’em to Surfline,” I asked?

“They don’t want anything from Ours,” he said.

Oh I knew.

Ours is a casualty of the media game where waves, like surfers, shine and blink like satellites, before, eventually, being decommissioned and forgotten.

And photographers trying to sell images of the following waves are worse than toothaches.

Let’s see if you can remember the following:

#1 Ours (RIP 2016): The Red Bull contest there last year was very good, but you might have to travel to a  European or South American print magazine to find any current images of that spectacular, and very hard to surf, wave.

#2 P-Pass (RIP 2015): Do you remember, and maybe you won’t being twelve years old, when this Micronesian reef was everywhere, when north swells shadowed by little wind created an exodus of surfers and photographers on Continental Airlines? P-Pass peaked with DJ Struntz-Andy Irons a decade ago, although it was a sorta buy with mags, websites until two years ago. This post is the last recorded feature on P-Pass. 

# 3 Lances Right aka Hollow Trees (RIP 2010): Before P-Pass there was a relatively easy to surf righthand point-to-ledge in the Mentawai Islands. Lance’s greatest gift was its proximity too the afternoon sun, the light gaily illuminating the tube every afternoon. Perfect for photographers soused on Indonesian beer and shooting from a large boat.

Peter Frieden’s epic photo of Lance’s Rights.

#4 Cloud 9 (RIP 1999): The jewel in a Filipino crown of thorns that breaks thirty days a year. Tortured a thousand surf photographers and pro’s, who didn’t figure out you need a monsoon for any sorta swell to light it up, until its unsurprising demise at the turn of the century.

# 5 Mundaka (RIP 2009): So fun, but so never breaks!

What waves do you think will decommissioned next?

Nazaré, obviously, but what else?