It was announced on January 18 that the Rip Curl World Surf League (WSL) Finals would be at Trestles this year! That’s right! In a one-day, winner-takes-all surfing event, Trestles will be where the Championship finals will take place in September!
The 2022 WSL Championship Tour kicked off at the world-famous Banzai Pipeline on O’ahu’s North Shore on January 29. The top men and women surfers from around the world competed together at this legendary surf break.
Never before have both men and women surf the Pipeline together while competing.
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WSL Men and Women Surf Competition to be Combined
WSL will combine the men’s and women’s Championship Tours for the first time. As noted above, never before have men and women competed at the same time or won the same prize money.
Well, this year, that has changed.
The 2022 Championship Tour (CT) Season will start with 36 men and 18 women. Halfway through the season, the field will be reduced to 24 men and 12 women.
The top-rated wave riders will automatically qualify for the 2023 season, go on to the tour’s second half, and be joined by two men’s and women’s wildcards.
WSL Championship Tour-Surfing in Over Seven Countries!
Before the Finals take over at Trestles, the WSL Championship Tour will include ten regular-season events at some very exotic locations. I’m not familiar with many of these beaches, so I thought it would be fun to do a bit of a deep dive into each location’s waves.
I will be going over specific wave characteristics of each location, noting the type and direction of each wave, the ideal swell, tide, wind, season, and how big each site can ultimately get.
I’m not a surfer, so please be patient with me and feel free to offer any suggestions if any information is incorrect or slightly off, mainly which surf breaks are used in the Championship Tour.
WSL Surfing Hawaii Two Times!
The WSL Championship will be making its presence on two North Shore beaches, starting first at the infamous Banzai Pipeline, followed by Sunset Beach.
Billabong Pro Pipeline
January 29 – February 10
The Banzai Pipeline, or simply Pipeline or Pipe, generates some of the largest and heaviest waves in the world.
The break is at Ehukai Beach Park in Pupukea, O’ahu, North Shore.
Wave Type- reef break
Wave Direction- left-hand barrel waves (First Reef, Pipe), right-hander (Backdoor)-also, if the swells a large enough, you also have Second Reef and Third Reef
Ideal tide- best between the peak low and peak high
Ideal wind- calm or light east to south
Best Swell- WNW/NW
Best Season- November to February
How Big?- 9 to 20 feet (2.7 to 6 meters)
- Often called the most famous waves globally, the breaks create hollow tubes that crash over razor-sharp reefs.
- the wave only lasts for about 7 seconds
- a steep and fast barreling wave
- the waves at Pipeline have sent hundreds to the hospital through the years, as well as claimed many lives
Hurly Pro Sunset Beach presented by Shiseido
Sunset Beach is located 2 miles and five minutes from Pipeline and is considered the longest stretch of surfable waves globally.
Like Pipeline, both beaches showcase winter swells but are utterly calm in the summer.
Wave Type- reef break
Wave Direction- mostly right-hand
Ideal tide- any
Ideal wind- light E to SSE
Best Swell- W/NW
Best Season- December and January
How Big?- 6 to 10 ft (1.8 to 3 m), but can get up to 30 to 40 ft (9.1- 12.1 m)
- Originally called Paumalu, there are six wave breaks.
- Waves only will break if they are at least 6 ft in height.
- Sunset Beach is home to the Triple Crown Surfing and Quicksilver Big Wave Invitational.
Meo Pro Portugal
The town of Peniche in Portugal is located on a peninsula about 1.5 hours away from the capital, Lisbon. The MEO Pro Portugal, founded in 2009, is held over on Supertubos Beach.
Wave Type- point break, sandbar, reef
Wave Direction- predominately left with some rights
Ideal tide- rising and falling tides
Ideal Wind- North/ East
Best Swell- South and West
Best Season- November to April
How Big?- up to 12 ft (3.6 m)
- Interestingly, Peniche used to be an island, but due to winds and tidal currents, this landmass eventually turned into a peninsula
- with world-famous tubular waves -known as a ‘baby Pipeline.’
- Supertubos Beach is located within a National Ecological Reserve Zone
Surfing Australia Two Times!
Both Australian spots are located in Southern Australia but are over 40 hours away from each other!
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach
The Rip Curl competition is the longest-running global surfing competition in history.
Bells Beach is found on the Southwest outskirts of Torquay, Victoria, and has two defined waves- Rincon and The Bowl.
Rincon- breaks on a high tide when the waves are 4 ft or under; it peaks on an underwater ledge and then makes its way onto the beach.
The Bowl– is a top-notch wave- if the swell is under 4 ft, it will only break on a low tide, but if the swell is more significant than 5 ft, The Bowl comes alive.
Wave Type- reef break with a southward offshore underwater ridge/ point break
Wave Direction- peeling right-handers
Ideal tide- low tide
Ideal Winds- calm or offshore flow from West to Northwest
Best Swell- SW/SSW
Best Season- April to September
How Big?- up to 49 ft (15 m)
- In 1973, the Australian government recognized Bells as a Surfing Reserve, the first in the world.
- located within Point Addis Marine National Park
- Bells Beach has been holding surfing competitions here for over 50 years- the world’s longest-running surfing contest
- the majority of the swell concentrates on the point
- Rip Curl has been based out of Bells Beach since 1969
- Bells Beach is known as a spiritual mecca for Australian surfing
Margaret River Pro
April 24- May 4
Margaret River is a lively town situated in the southwest of Western Australia. It is primarily known for its significant surf breaks near its namesake- Margaret River often referred to as Margs and Margarets’.
The area Margaret River surfing region is quite large. The most famous breaks are located within what is known as the Capes- (between the two blue dots on the map above.)
The main break used in the contest is Surfers Point, located south of the river inlet.
Wave Type- sheltered river/reef break
Wave Direction- favors rights with some lefts
Ideal tide- good on all tides but best with mid to incoming
Ideal wind- light offshore East winds- (NE/E/SE)
Best Swell- SW/W
Best season- great all year long but best in March (Autumn)
How Big?- 8 to 14 ft (2.5 to 4 m) with the main break producing 20 to 25 ft (6 to 7.6 m) waves
- The surf break, The Box, also produces enormous waves north and offshore of the mouth of Margarets Rivers.
- Surfing over here is productive all year since ground swells constantly push toward the coast.
- Margarets River area is located 3 hours south of Perth
Surfing East Java, Indonesia
Quicksilver/ROXY Pro G-Land
May 28 -June 6
G-Land, also known as Plengkung Beach, is an internationally known surf break situated on the eastern side of Grajagon Bay, Alas Purwo National Park, East Java.
G-Land hasn’t been a part of the CT for over 24 years, and this will mark the first time that women have surfed competitively here.
Wave Type- exposed reef/point break
Wave Direction- barreling left-handers
Ideal tide- best at mid to high tide
Ideal Wind- SE tradewinds
Best Swell- SW
Best Season- from April to September
How Big?- 13 to 19 ft (4 to 6 m)
- Big, long, hollow, and consistent waves, and when the season is right, G-Land has one of the most consistently ridable waves in the world, which is only second to the Banzai Pipeline in Hawaii.
- The first surf camp was possibly held in G-Land in 1971, which Michael Boyum led.
- Low-pressure systems generate the swells here in Antarctica
Surf City El Salvador Pro presented by Corona
El Salvador is making a surprise appearance in the WSL Championship Tour this year!
Punta Roca produces some fast and epic barrels and is only recommended for advanced wave riders. Some things to look out for a while surfing here are a rocky bottom and pollution.
Wave Type- exposed point break/ cobblestone, rock, and boulders
Wave Direction- right
Ideal tide- all tides
Ideal Wind- light to moderated offshore WNW to N
Best swell- a strong SSW
Best Season- April- October, with June to July the best
How Big?- up to 5 ft (1.5 m)
- Punta Roca was El Salvador’s first commercial port in 1927 (Puerto de la Liberta), and by the 1950’s it became a top-rated surfing destination.
- powerful and hollow fast-breaking waves that are ridable for over 200 meters (645 feet)
- is claimed to be the best wave in the Northern Hemisphere
- the surf break set-up is similar to that of Santa Barbara, CA
Oi Rio Pro Presented By Corona
June 23- 30
Saquarema Beach is located 50 miles east of Rio and has two quality surf breaks, Itauna and Barrinha, which the WSL utilizes in their surf tournaments. The primary break, Itauna, has a wide-open swell window of S/SSE swells, with the biggest and best swells occurring in April thru October.
Wave Type- beach sand break with rock outcroppings and jetties
Wave Direction- Itauna- left-handers; Barrinha right-handers
Ideal tide- both from mid to low tide
Ideal wind- calm to light offshore
- Itauna- N/NE
- Barrinha- N-NW
- Itauna– ESE/SE/S
- Barrinha has wedging peaks best with SSW/S-SSE swells; stronger ENE/E winds produce right-handers.
Best Season- April thru October, with May being the best month
How Big?- as big as 10 to 12 ft (3 to 4 m)
- Other man-made features affect both beaches, such as rock outcroppings and jetties.
- Itauna has a small channel or deep hole next to the rocks, which helps to refract the swell energy.
- During a slight swell, this channel helps create peaky rights and wedgy lefts; compared to that, during a more substantial bow, the waves break off the rocks to make it act like a long left pointbreak.
- Barrinha has a deeper channel extending from the lagoon’s inlet located on the west side of the beach, which refracts a large amount of the swell into the surf zone.
Corona Open J-Bay
July 12- 21
Jeffreys Bay (J-Bay) is the best right-hand point break wave on the planet, with rides as long as 948 ft (300 m)!
The WSL contest will be held on Superstubes Beach.
The J Bay point/headland has five separate point sections, and sometimes the breaks connect, thus producing those extra-long right-handers.
Wave Type- classic point break, reef, and beach break
Wave Direction- right-hand
Ideal tide- good on all tides but best with a mid-incoming
Ideal Wind- SW to W
Best Swell- SW/SSW
Best Season- May to September
How Big?- 3 to 10 ft (1 to 3 m), usually 4 to 8 ft (1.2 to 2.4 m)
- several sections: Boneyards, Supertubes, and Tubes
- known as the fastest wave in the world
- the best SW swells are from storms close to shore producing strong SW winds
- the beaches of J-Bay are known for their wide variety of seashells
Teahupo’o is a small village on the southwestern coast of the island of Tahiti in French Polynesia that is known worldwide for its offshore surf break, which produces heavy, glassy waves.
One of the reasons that this wave is so dangerous is that it starts in very deep water (500 yards offshore) and then suddenly meets the reefs close to shore and immediately crashes down hard.
It is unlike a regular wave that peaks, folds, and breaks. Instead, it’s as if the whole ocean is folding in on itself, thus producing extra-thick waves (pillow break).
The wave’s unique shape is due to a highly shallow coral reef, sometimes less than 20 inches beneath the water’s surface, which is responsible for the very hollow breaking waves.
The trick to riding a Teapuho’o wave is to take off from underneath the lip to escape being launched into the air or falling straight down.
Wave Type- offshore reef/ pillow break; this is when swells mainly break backward
Wave Direction- left-hander
Ideal tide- low tide
Ideal Wind- NE/ ESE
Best Swell- SSW
Best Season- May to October
How Big?- 6.6 to 9.8 ft (2 to 3 m) and sometimes reaching up to 23 ft (7 m)
- Top 10 deadliest waves and the name means “Wall of Skulls.”
- Teahupo’o is pronounced Chop-pu.
- There have been five recorded deaths by this wave since 2000
- Swells that reach here have traveled thousands of miles across the Pacific without any obstacles in their way
- Known as the world’s heaviest waves- the wave is as thick as it is high
- A typical ride takes you about 75 to 100 yards (68 to 91 m)
- There are three main spots to take off from
- South Peak- deep take-off with long barrels
- Southwest Peak- square barrels
- West Peak- closer to the channel for a more forgiving ride
- It takes about 15 minutes to paddle out
- The 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris will feature this spot in the surfing competition.
WSL at Trestles!
Rip Curl WSL Finals, Lower Trestles CA
September 8- 16
Situated at the northern section of San Onofre State Beach and the border of San Diego and Orange Counties, Trestles Beach is the best surfing beach in Southern California.
The WSL Championship Tour will end with a one-day, winner-takes-all climax at Lower Trestles. The events waiting period coincides with the peak time when Trestles is expected to get its infamous Southern Hemisphere SW swells, so fingers crossed.
Wave Type- sandbar, cobblestone beach break, point
Wave Direction- lazy right-hander and hollow lefts
Ideal tide- low tide
Ideal Wind- light to moderate NE
Best Swell- S, SW, SSW
Best Season- March to October
How Big?- 4 to 6 ft (1 to 2 m) & up to 15 ft (4.6 m)
- Five surf breaks- (North to South)-Cottons, Uppers, Lowers, Middles, and Church- with Lowers being the most consistent surf break
- because of the left-handers, you can paddle on the north side of the peak
- the beach bottom is covered with cobblestone rocks
- cobblestone rocks are what makes surfing over here so phenomenal; with help from swells, mini hills of these rocks underwater form the surf breaks
- keep a lookout for great white sharks
- Did you realize that the song, Surfin’USA mentions Trestles and a few other San Diego surfing beaches?
2022 WSL Championship Tour Schedule
- January 29 – February 10- Billabong Pro Pipeline
- February 11-23-Hurly Pro Sunset Beach presented by Shiseido
- March 3-13- Meo Pro Portugal
- April 10-20- Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach
- April 24- May 4- Margaret River Pro
- May 28 -June 6- Quicksilver/ROXY Pro G-Land
- June 12- 20- Surf City El Salvador Pro presented by Corona
- June 23- 30- Oi Rio Pro presented by Corona
- July 12- 21- Corona Open J-Bay
- August 11-21- Tahiti Pro
Final 5 for both men’s and women’s World Titles
- September 8- 16- Rip Curl WSL Finals, Lower Trestles, CA, USA
Down below is a link to a list of all athletes who are competing in the WSL Championship Tour-
- Where Will, The WSL Finals, Be Held This Year? – SURFER Magazine
- Rip Curl WSL Finals To Return To Lower Trestles In 2022 | World Surf League
- Why is Banzai Pipeline the ultimate surfing wave? (surfertoday.com)
- Peniche: a surfers’ paradise! • Center of Portugal
- Mechanics of Bells Beach — What Makes the Waves Tick at the World’s Longest Running Contest – Surfline
- Margaret River Surf Spots | Find Margaret River Surf Breaks (summerstar.com.au)
- Mechanics of Saquarema – Breaking Down the Best of Brazil, Itauna, and Barrinha – Surfline
- Mechanics of Jeffreys Bay, South Africa – Breaking Down JBay Surf – Surfing The Worlds Best Right Pointbreak – Surfline
- Teahupoo Guide [2022 Update] The Ultimate Tahiti Wave (centerforsurfresearch.org)
- Mechanics: Punta Roca, El Salvador — Central America’s Most Famous Righthand Pointbreak – Surfline
- Surfing Lower Trestles: the jewel of Southern California (surfertoday.com)
- Getting to Know San Onofre State Beach
- Exploring Trestles Beach Trail
- Best Surfing Beaches in San Diego
I have always had a deep-seated passion for the Ocean Environment which ultimately led me to receive a degree in Marine Biology. Living in the San Diego area for over 30 years, I have extensively explored the 70 miles of San Diego’s coastline, and I am here to share! Please use my website to your advantage and have a look around at all the wonders that the beaches of San Diego can offer you!