Twenty Years Later Blue Crush Still Swells

It’s summertime – time to catch the summer waves.

What better way to catch the waves than to get advice from an expert surfer – or group of pro surfers?

Anne Marie leads this group.

People met Anne Marie in 2002 when fans flocked to theaters to see her surfer story. This year is the 20th anniversary of the surfing flick that changed the world for female surfers and developed a cult following.

Now, 20 years later, Anne Marie is still in a relationship with her first, Blue Crush – the sea waves. The movie introduced us to Anne Marie (played by Kate Bosworth), her two close friends Eden, played by Michelle Rodriguez (Fast and Furious movies), and Lena, played by Sanoe Lake, a professional surfer.

Anne Marie was an up-and-coming surfer, training for the Pipeline, a fictional, all-female surfing competition but fear paralyzed her from progress. She had recently experienced a near-death experience while surfing. Now, each time she rode a high wave, flashbacks from the awful memory froze her.

Fans followed Anne Marie’s story, her romance, and her path to building the needed confidence to become a powerful female surfer.

Many do not realize the movie is based on a group of teenage girls who also lived in Hawaii. In 1998, Susan Orlean, now a New Yorker writer, wrote Life’s Swell for Outsider. Then, Outsider Editor, Susan Casey, gave her a lead: Go to Hawaii and track down a group of surfer girls and write the article.

The girls from the list of names Casey provided Orlean didn’t pan out. But Orlean did not give up.

Instead, she pursued other leads and found a group of girls living in the small, off-the-track town of Hana, on the island of Maui. She met Theresa, Angie, and Lilia – who would later serve as the basis for Anne Marie, Eden, and Lena.

Orlean’s title, Life’s Swell, does not describe these youth’s cool, fun, and exciting lives. Instead, it’s a play on words – a reference to the surfer term, “swell,” which, according to Surfer Today, “is a series of mechanical or surface gravity waves generated by distant weather systems that propagate thousands of miles across oceans and seas.”

Viewers also saw the fun and excitement of catching the perfect wave, feeling the water splashing on their faces, and the adrenaline pumping through their veins. During the summer, there are many destinations where people of all levels and experiences can visit and surf.

Here is a ranking of the top 10 places to travel to for the best surfing time.

10. Riding out Bali Waves

Looking for the most rad waves? Uluwatu, Bali, located on the country’s most-Southern point, has some of the best waves to offer. That, along with the country’s tropical landscapes and beautiful weather, makes Uluwatu a surfer’s dream.

The optimum time to surf there is during the summer months, from June to August. During these months, the waves are more manageable. In addition, beginners can learn how to surf at this location.

Vacationers have several beaches from which to choose, including Padang Padang, Uluwatu, and Dreamland.

Those who are fans of Eat Pray Love have already gotten a glimpse of the beach in one of the film’s romantic scenes featuring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem. Padang Pang Beach is the site of multiple surfing events, such as the Rip Curl Cup Padang Padang – a competition for the most-experienced tube riders.

The 1970s movie, Morning of the Earth, a landmark surfing movie, is what made Uluwatu a surfer’s Mecca. After its release, surfers from across the world came to the beach to try out their boards and to get a taste of that perfect surfer’s spot.

Those wanting a more-commercialized vacation can stop by Dreamland, also known as the new Kuta. This beach’s waves glide over a flat limestone reef.  

Amateurs to expert surfers can try a variety of locations, during Dreamland's surfing season, from April to November. The spot also features a large hotel and golf course community.

9. Surfing in Leprechaun Land

The Irish offer a surfing haven too. It’s called Bundoran Beach.

National Geographic listed the sea resort as one of the top 20 surf towns in the world. Surfing areas there include The Peak, Tullan Strand, and Rossnowlauh Beach.

Locals know The Peak to have the most cranking waves. However, tourists, who want to do more than surf, can visit Tullan Strand and see popular rock formation markers, the Fairies Bridge, or the Wishing Chair, located nearby.

The beautiful town, known as the Surf Capital of Ireland, is located in the County of Donegal in Ireland – only about an hour’s drive from the country’s capital, and it’s a place people know for its lovely beaches and waves. A family destination, the city’s main street is not far from the beach, where there is more entertainment, including cafes, restaurants, and hotels.

8. Sunset Beach, Hawaii

This location is one of two located, on this list, in Hawaii, and they’re not that far apart from each other. Anne Marie and her friends would also give this location a thumb’s up.

Sunset Beach opened in 1920 and can be found on Oahu’s North Shore, one of the state’s seven islands. Initially, people called this beach, which stretches out to two miles, Paumalū. From the 1950s to the 1980s, surfers viewed this coastline as the most valuable beach.

Like the Pipeline competition, this beach tests each surfer’s ability. It's home to one of the most dangerous lava-rock reefs. These powerful waves are more suited for the pro surfer. Besides, Blue Crush’s Banzai Pipeline beach is only two miles away.

There’s always a place to swim at the beach unless lightning and thunder endanger the waters. 

7. Surfer’s Paradise in Central America

Those who want to focus on surfing, water, and solitude can visit Pavones, Costa Rica, made up of 10 miles of different beaches. Located at the southernmost point of Costa Rica’s South Pacific region, this legendary spot is desolate heaven for those who want to surf and be far from everyone else.

This venue, on the Pacific Ocean side of the country, is located far away from tourist traps, and it’s even difficult for surfers to find due to its remote location. That’s why only a few make it to the beach, which is about 8 or 9 hours from Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose. Surfer's Paradise lacks the crowd many find at surfing beaches. There are no shopping malls, banks, or large restaurant chains.

Its waves never end, and they’re usually about 400 to 900 meters in length. The surfers that find it are stoked to ride the peaks and the barrels of these epic waves.

6. The Exotic Part of Surfing

Spain’s Basque Coast offers multiple choices for surfers along a coastline that stretches to more than 124 miles. This shoreline provides different variations on the waves, but the best beaches for surfing are those found along the Biscay, Gipuzkoa, and Lapurdi coastlines. The water’s swell makes this shoreline one of the best for surfers.

One of the most well-known beach towns is Mundaka, Spain’s surfing capital, located inside the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve. Surfers from all over the globe go to Mundaka to surf. Fish Eagles, Spoonbills, and Eurasian Bittern are some of the birds making their home at this reserve. In addition, Mundaka is also a fishing village. Wave riders surf with exotic animals all around them.

Summer is the time when most surfers come to these beaches to surf. It’s a great way to spend a holiday or a vacation. 

This location is one of the few where its surfing origin is known. It started when Ignacio Arana returned home, to Spain, in 1912, after living in Hawaii. He brought with him two surfboards and a book on surfing. The book, The Surfriders of Hawaii, was the first book, let alone publication, that provides a link between surfing and Basque Country.

5. Exquisite Conditions for Surfing

Those who want a vacation and learn to surf can take a trip to Popoyo, Nicaragua. Surf experts offer surfing lessons at a price range of between $10 to $15. Some hotels offer their customers discounts. 

The weather is a great attraction too. The average number of days of offshore winds in the country is 300, creating the best surfing environments. It also offers a large selection of waves, from beach breaks and point breaks to outer reefs. (To find out more about these waves, click here.)

The Popoyo Surf Lodge opened its doors in 1999 and is the reason surfing exists in Nicaragua. Before its opening, Nicaraguans did not even know about surfing. Now, it’s the most sought-after surfing spot in Nicaragua.

Like Spain’s Mundaka, Popoyo is close to an animal reserve – the Chacocente Natural Reserve, where the Olive Ridley turtles hatch their eggs between July and December.

4. The Spot is No Longer a Secret

Australia’s Gold Coast attracts surfers for numerous reasons, but the main ones include being able to surf all year long, beaches with warm, clear water, well-patrolled areas, and magnificent point break waves. But, of course, the Gold Coast’s length of more than 31 miles captivates surfers too.

Most surfers travel to the Land Down Under between November and July when the best point breaks occur.

One of the famous beaches to swing by is South Stradbroke Island. Locals believe it’s the preeminent of all the coast beaches, possibly due to no traffic or crowds. Instead, it’s nature, the waves, and a few campsites. Some surfers enjoy the feeling of being so close to nature.

The only catch is surfers have to use a boat to get to the beach. Those who do not own a boat can take a ferry across Moreton Bay, hire a boat, or take a water taxi. Some may be more adventurous and kayak or ski jet to the other side.

In the past, locals kept the location a secret and frowned when people mentioned it to tourists. As a result, the surfing spot, also known as Straddie, was one of the country’s last unknown gems. But now, Australia’s tourist agencies promote the area.

3. The Area for the Daredevil

The fearless surfer may want to go to California and try the waves at Mavericks. These waves have a reputation as being among the deadliest on the planet.

The waves are so dangerous and treacherous that a surfer can lose his or her life in seconds. It does not help that sharks roam its water and the weather is foggy, and the water is cold.

All of these factors test a surfer’s knowledge, endurance, and courage. White sharks have already bitten some unsuspecting surfers looking for killer white waves. 

The surfing season for Mavericks is between September through April. Its waves can reach as high as 30 feet. Most wave rides last between 15 to 20 seconds.

The beach is also home to the annual wave surfing competition of the same name, the Maverick. The competition had been off for six years, but this year, Elizabeth Cresson of San Francisco plans to organize the event in the Winter.

Those who want to find out more about Mavericks’ history can watch the documentary Discovering Mavericks (2013), or the film Chasing Mavericks (2012), which starred Gerard Butler and Elisabeth Shue.

2. A South African Surfer’s Haven

Many may not know, but Blue Crush had a sequel, Blue Crush 2 (2011), which went straight to Blu-ray and DVD.

California girl Dana (played by Sasha Jackson) wants to feel closer to her dead mom. So, she rummages through her mom’s diary and finds pictures of her mom surfing in South Africa’s Jeffrey’s Bay. So, she decides to leave California, travel, and head to J-Bay, where she’ll surf in the same waters her mother enjoyed.

Therefore, it’s fitting to include J-Bay in the top 10 destinations.

Surfers view J-Bay as the iconic surf town. Residents refer to the Eastern Cape town as dorpies; what South Africans call a small town. It’s one of the few places where surfers can get the fun of riding a reef break, point break, and beach break. One only needs to walk five minutes of each break location to surf on that wave.

The beach’s busiest days are during the South African holidays and July when Billabong holds the J-Bay Open. But the best time to book a trip is from May to August, with June and July being peak months for the waves.

Transportation can be a challenge. There are no buses or traditional taxis, but many can hop on an informal minibus ‘taxi' ride.

1. People Call it the Oahu Oasis

This destination is Anne Marie’s top choice!

This locality is not only the setting of the major competition in Blue Crush, but it’s also the most photographed wave in the world. It’s where Anne Marie found her stardom: the Banzai Pipeline

Surfers can find these waves on the North Shore of Oahu. It’s located between Sunset (mentioned above) and Waimea Beach Parks. Some surfers simply mark the Pipeline as the center of the surfing universe.

There are always crowds there – especially when good swells are present, usually from October through March. Many photographers also make the trek to the spot.

This place is also legendary due to the Billabong Pro Pipeline title that occurs there every year. This year, Kelly Slater made history when he won his eighth Pipe Masters days before his 50th birthday and three decades after he won his first Banzai Pipeline championship.

The surfers in the movie may have made riding the waves look easy, but the Banzai Pipeline boasts some of the most dangerous waves. These waters have taken many lives. Also, the surfing stunts injured some surfers on the movie set during the shooting. Even so, many brave still souls put aside their fright, pick up their boards, and travel to the Pipeline for their water adventure.

For Anne Marie and her friends, they would probably never leave. Instead, she’d probably say, “Home is where the waves are.”

To get an idea of what it’s like to ride a Banzai wave, click here to see a video from Men’s Journal.

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This article was produced by Wealth of Geeks.

Featured Image Courtesy of Unsplash.


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Rasha is a die-hard bookaholic, but when she's not reading, she watches TV shows with her husband. He's in charge of the remote because he certainly doesn't trust her with one. If he did, they would be watching “Law and Order” reruns all day. She is a former reporter who now works in the social work industry, connecting people with essential resources and agencies. Other than that, Rasha is currently using her superpower, writing, to deliver the news.