Spot Check: Sunset Beach - with Zeke LauNov 25, 2019
By Cassady Ozimec / Surfline
Sunset Beach is not the deadliest wave on the North Shore. Pipeline is. Sunset is, however, the deadliest wave for competitive careers. For many years now, the second stop of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, the Vans World Cup, has tapped the famed open-ocean power of Sunset Beach to end punctuate the WSL Men’s Qualifying Series, right along with many surfers’ dreams of Championship Tour qualification. And even without the best surfers on Earth all vying for 34 elite spots, the wave is a formidable enough opponent all by itself. Torrential currents, colossal saltwater mountains, and the notorious West Peak are just a few of the obstacles. But with a decent amount of experience, the requisite physical fitness, and a hefty helping of foam, the wave can indeed be tamed. For more on how to navigate the break, we turned to Sunset Beach standout and former event winner, Ezekiel Lau.
“Personally, I don’t like to ride too big of a board out there because I like to be able to do turns and surf in the pocket — plus, if you want to get barreled on the Bowl, it’s easier to do on a smaller board.” Zeke Lau. Photo: Billy Watts
EL: “The best conditions are usually a northwest swell in the 8-10 foot range. Anything above 10 feet gets kind of out of control, and anything under eight feet can be kind of shifty, where it’s a little too small to focus on the West Bowl and it’s a little too big to focus on the Point. When it’s in-between like that, it’s really hard to find the right spot, so I prefer when it’s being enough for West Bowl, or when it’s under six feet so it breaks along the Point.”
FORECAST: North Shore Regional Forecast
“As for wind, the regular tradewinds are my favorite, which is east. Northeast can be good too because that blows into the left and holds the wave up a bit. Northeast winds also groom the face really well. When the wind is onshore, it makes it really tricky out there because of how bumpy it gets. It also makes the wave break quicker instead of holding the wave open like the trades do, so it’s more difficult to surf.”
“The crowd is a little different at Sunset. It’s not a Pipe crowd, and it’s not a ‘heavy’ crowd. Instead, it’s a lot of local people and...