The steepness of the seabed, the seabed itself and the shape of the coast are influencing the waves. There are 3 types of surf breaks; reef breaks, point breaks and beach breaks. Each type of break produces a different style of wave with a unique shape, steepness and speed.
1. Reef break
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At a reef break the waves break on the reef or on rocks. This break is consistent as the reef is solid and does not shift. The waves break at the same place over and over again, not depending on tidal changes. This helps you to position yourself in the right place to catch the wave. Downside of this is that it can be crowdy at the peak. Depending on the spot, reef breaks are usually not suitable for beginners as the reefs are shallow and crowdy.
2. Point break
At point breaks, waves break on headlands either to the right or the left. Usually in long straight lines resulting in long rides. This makes it very attractive for surfers and a favourite break for many. Suitable for intermediates to advanced surfers as currents and rocks can be dangerous for beginners.
3. Beach break
At beach beaks, the waves break on sand bars. varying from fast to slow breaking waves. The steeper and shallower the sand dune, the faster the wave breaks. Sand dunes are not solid as they shift due to storms, tidal changes and currents. Therefore the waves can break at one place and a few days later somewhere else.
As there are more peaks at beach breaks, crowds tend to spread. This makes it ideal for beginners, although beach breaks are fun for all levels. At beach breaks you see left, right and a-frame breaking waves as well as close outs. Read more about the different types of waves here.