A Perfect Circle: An Ode To The Rip Bowl

Craig Brokensha picture
Craig Brokensha (Craig)
Swellnet Dispatch

They exist in almost every surf town; at least those towns with a selection of sand-bottom breaks that change with each passing storm and swell.

They're a clandestine group. They don't follow a fixed schedule. Their surf times aren't set by the rising of the sun or knock-off time at work, instead they follow the tide cycle, eyeing a slim window among the rise and fall.

In fact, you’ll hardly see them at any other time of the day, regardless of conditions.

They’ll appear just before conditions switch on, and an hour or so later leave with a higher than normal wave count - all ridden right under the nose of other surfers sitting blissfully unaware out the back.

Perhaps they've been times when you've been surprised that the bank you're surfing, which was shoulder-less and weak when you paddled out, slowly begins to transform into a gurgling bowl, sometimes doubling up yet always running against the current, offering a heightened sense of speed.

They weren't surprised. They were waiting.

Some beaches are more susceptible to rip bowls and the mysterious nature of them extends to the reason why. Yet these aren't necessarily matters that bother the committed crew. Instead they'll concern themselves with daily fluctuations: Not too low, not too high, and not too big.

Yet such is the fickle nature of moving sand, that a keen eye is required to scan potential new bowls. Similarly, they'll keep tabs as sand moves into an agreeable pattern, then shift their sessions to optimise shape and tide.

To be frank, most waves are a bit weird, they require a different kind of surfing: tight and in the pocket, but it’s the high wave count and diamonds in the rough - those double-ups! - that keep the crew paddling back out for more - or drifting for those who play it smart.

An understanding of outflow, ability to triangulate, and capacity to sprint paddle when needed, are other skills the smart ripbowl surfer possesses.

Perhaps best of all, for surfers with limited time they’re a godsend, and catching forty waves in an hour isn’t uncommon if they play it right.

To the trained eye, it's easy to spot the uninitiated. They'll paddle from the beach, reach the lineup, where they stop paddling and sit up, then get caught moving sideways at a rate of knots, disappearing down the beach never to be seen again.

'Follow the water, not other surfers' is a good game plan. Do this and the intricacies of the bank will reveal themselves. Perhaps more water creating dredging double-ups and longer, more walled out bowls.

However, don't get too attached to it. Because just as you're getting things dialled, the tide will shift, the direction will change, and the little kingdom will collapse. That's it for the day.

Some bowls improve as days go by, with the constant pull of water transporting more and more sand onto the bank, making it longer and shallow, while others start to deteriorate as the extra sand starts to fill in the deep channel leading into the bank.

It’s a day by day proposition and that’s the magic of the rip bowl.

Ever-changing and always elusive.

This is an ode to the rip bowl and those who dedicate their surfing lives to chasing quantity over quality.

//CRAIG BROKENSHA

Comments

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 12:47pm

Spent a lot of time around Cronulla when I was younger and there were surfers who you'd only see scouting the rip bowls at the northern end of the beach. Could surf them really well too. Watching them I learnt never to sit up on your board, always keep the rotation going even if it means catching smaller or shitty ones, and take a breather while getting sucked back out.

Last summer I took my 11-year old twins to a popular holiday zone, where in the corner of a beach a classic rip bowl was doing its thing. It took a few sessions with pointers along the way to figure it out: always paddle out next to the rocks, never ever go left, and as soon as you flick off don't paddle out but paddle towards the rocks, where the current will take you back out.

After a few sessions what was invisible to their young eyes revealed itself. Can't say the same for the procession of punters who'd reach the lineup, sit up to wait for a set, then immediately disappear down the beach.

The other good thing was that, while rotating in the circle, each of us were in view the whole time, could see each other's rides and hoot.

Love a good rip bowl.

82shoes's picture
82shoes's picture
82shoes Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 9:09pm

I was thinking Cronulla as well Stu, brought back memories of Midway in the 80's with a crew on a rip bowl pushing each other. Such a short, intense workout almost like a heat in the local boardriders

adam.newman's picture
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adam.newman Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 11:18am

Theres a huge freight train rip right out the front of Elouera lifeguard tower right now. I just got in from a super sesh where I timed the tide perfectly (too low and it closes, too high and its fat). Fun times.

SurfnSkate81's picture
SurfnSkate81's picture
SurfnSkate81 Saturday, 1 Jun 2024 at 9:52am

Adam Newman! Might have been similar to the time you and Kenny waxed my board with soap up after school sport surfing. Same spot 1997. Shannon.

conrico's picture
conrico's picture
conrico Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 12:49pm

Love it Craig! Nothing better than lucking out on a unexpected rip bowl bank

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 1:15pm

My local is rip bowl city maybe twenty banks along the long beach each bank comes and goes but each tends to have its own character.

I tend to only surf certain banks and if you surf the same bank daily you can get really switched on to when it will turn on and off.

I love it when you work out a bank and you get out there early often when it looks like nothing then suddenly it turns on with that tide change and you get this little window where its at its best before the crowd hits.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 1:24pm

My surfing is, and always has been, 95% points and reefs, so could someone please enlighten me as to the difference between a normal bank and a rip bowl?

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 2:07pm

You can have normal sand structured banks that run consistently and predictably, almost like a sand over reef setup.

But these rip-bowl ones form along side deep gutters, with water always flowing along-side and into the wave. They make the waves bowl and double-up in a slightly unpredictable way depending on how much water is running against them and are hugely influenced by the tide. Super fun!

They're my favourite and I've been meaning to pen a piece about them for a long time :)

hazcam's picture
hazcam's picture
hazcam Thursday, 30 May 2024 at 3:39pm

I've had some ripper wave count sessions but I
don't think i caught 40 waves that count not just getting to your feet in an hour. Whats your record in rippies Craig, googles telling me thats a wave every 1.5 mins haha you fit bastard

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Friday, 31 May 2024 at 12:32am

Haha yeah obviously only about 5-10 of those might be keepers. Yeah maybe more closer to 30 per hour, than 40.

sales-rep's picture
sales-rep's picture
sales-rep Thursday, 30 May 2024 at 7:30pm

Hey Craig, can you email me privately and I’ll share a draft of a story I never had published? We have some similar thoughts, but also a bunch of stuff not discussed here! Cheers.

wally's picture
wally's picture
wally Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 2:25pm

Sometimes the rip bowl, a wave abrading against a channel with an outgoing current, might be half way to out the back.

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 5:12pm

Interesting, here they're almost always further out than any other bank.

shraz's picture
shraz's picture
shraz Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 7:14pm

Rip head bar! breaks on the biggest sets without closing out, mostly. Sand grain size has a fair bit to do with this stuff too. Coarser grained sand beaches form better rips nearer to shore, great for surfing, bad for drowning!

Thegrowingtrend.com's picture
Thegrowingtrend.com's picture
Thegrowingtrend.com Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 1:43pm

Crangleation at its finest.
Swell net and Craig have made the art of #RipBowlivin possible.
long live the bowl.

garyg1412's picture
garyg1412's picture
garyg1412 Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 1:52pm

Much more fun than a Poke Bowl

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 1:59pm

Cool article- I don't think I've ever read a ripbowl article with such depth let alone an ode to them.

We've all been there, pops and bubbles and gurgles and frothy, hissing sandy water and the 'whoah' when sometimes pulling back when the whole bottom drops out of it.

But those good ones you scratch into... Yew!

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 2:43pm

Thought provoking Craig. I’m an aficionado with a caveat. My job is not flexible enough to truely chase the right tide: the tide has to come to me more often than I go to it. I very much envy those who can.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 3:12pm

Very, very rate treat around here (apart from the obvious break wall candidates- which are pseudo-rip bowls).
Deffo did my time hunting rip bowls on SEQLD beachies but there seems to too much sand movement for the most part here for the rip bowls to form often.

Once a blue moon treat.

Gowsa's picture
Gowsa's picture
Gowsa Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 3:55pm

Diamonds in the rough

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 3:59pm

Nice Craig! Love a good rip bowl, plenty to be found at home. Most can't stomach the non-stop paddling or get to their feet quick enough, more for me, yew!

tiger's picture
tiger's picture
tiger Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 4:00pm

Very rare where I am on the mid north coast too, haven't surfed a proper rip bowl for years. Used to love them on the sunny coast. One other real benefit of rip bowls is it usually doesn't matter if it's onshore, sometimes they're actually better. The banks around here are toast if onshore, hence I haven't surfed in onshore conditions in about 6 years!

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 4:04pm

Worlds greatest rip bowl......123456 beach
All other waves train you for that wave
.......there's some hectic ones on a certain vic coast.
What wave am i ?
Lankys trivia.

AlfredWallace's picture
AlfredWallace's picture
AlfredWallace Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 7:16pm

Corsair or Johanna. AW

backyard's picture
backyard's picture
backyard Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 7:07am

Over the other side.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 8:15am

Gunna

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 4:33pm

You mean rippamatta?

Basil's picture
Basil's picture
Basil Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 4:26pm

I've caught some absolute rippers in the rip bowls—I was in one at Woollami on the weekend—but I've also been that guy sailing down the beach plenty of times! It's hard work when you are not in sync with it.

Basil's picture
Basil's picture
Basil Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 4:28pm

I envy those who have it down to a fine art - as I'm sailing down the beach!

hamishbro's picture
hamishbro's picture
hamishbro Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 4:31pm

Victoria has some legendary semi permanent rip bowls. That second photo reminds me of one I remember well.

Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 5:23pm

I'd be interested in comparing a East Coast rip bowl to a Vicco one. Short period, varying swell direction rip bowls vs mid/long period, single swell direction.

Finnbob the terror's picture
Finnbob the terror's picture
Finnbob the terror Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 6:03pm

One thing about viccos SW facing beaches from the Bass coast to the south oz is the banks are very well defined when they turn up they can come and go or even last for weeks and can work well with a heavy rip running across the wave to no rip at all to even a reverse rip. Don't forget about the double up reform banks.

shraz's picture
shraz's picture
shraz Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 7:22pm

Longshore current is the enemy as mentioned, stay inside and get shacked, if you get bobbed over to the next bank just hang there until you get bobbed over again etc….

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 4:36pm

Something we don't really have on the MP as the rips are perpendicular to the shoreline. Can be great when they form but if it gets big they can be impossible to paddle against.

barbielunchboxer's picture
barbielunchboxer's picture
barbielunchboxer Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 9:27pm

D-Bone they are very different. All the rip bowls I surfed when living on the east coast were much less defined than the waves we grew up surfing and the rips were always much softer and easier to navigate. I feel like because of our long period straight, powerful and pretty much only SW swells the rip bowls we get are like mini sand points (that close out above 4ft) with straight lines running down them. I didn’t find anything comparable on the East Coast. When people called something a ‘rip bowl’ in Newy I almost laughed, if only they knew the struggle.

It took me a while to figure out what’s so different about them but I think as has been pointed out it’s the direction and period we get at home, as well as the swells coming out of deeper water making them more powerful that create our mini point and more permanent/recurring sand banks and rip bowls.

Juliang's picture
Juliang's picture
Juliang Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 6:30am

The beach breaks I’ve surfed on Philip island and the Mornington Peninsula were way better than what I was i was used to in SE QLD , as were the offshore winds and swell lines.

RockyIsland's picture
RockyIsland's picture
RockyIsland Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 5:35pm

Been feasting on our coasts rip bowls for 50 years.
Train used to go to one of the best.
Best strategy is too sneak up on them, let the rip do all the work, then pounce, like a fox stalking a chicken.

R00ney's picture
R00ney's picture
R00ney Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 6:18pm

Used to love ém out front of the carpark and dezzis, alfies...jebus, all the way up to rivermouth and beyond.
As you say, super fun!

southernraw's picture
southernraw's picture
southernraw Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 6:54pm

Lovely stuff Craig although preaching to the converted here. Absolutely froth on rip banks.
Hot tip, get a good paddler, a little shorty with a flat bottom that glides so you can catch those little one footers that turn into 2 footers as they double up along the bank. Crack crack crack!

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 5:45pm

Oath! Love the growers.

blackers's picture
blackers's picture
blackers Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 7:07pm

A staple part of my wave diet. Love em.

Ray Shirlaw's picture
Ray Shirlaw's picture
Ray Shirlaw Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 8:23pm

So can we kickstart one with a bulldozer at Lowtide? Serious question,surely its less fucking around than Artificial reefs & cheaper than Wavepools

RockyIsland's picture
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RockyIsland Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 7:49am

Seem to remember back in the early 80s they did for this a Pro comp around Cronulla maybe?
Beaurepaires Open comp possibly?
Memory a bit foggy.
Bulldozed a bank a low tide.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 7:53am

You'd need to get way below the low tide line, so probably not feasible though starting inshore would start setting something in motion.

There's a thought that the council sand grooming trucks across some of Sydney's more popular beaches actually prevent these gutters and rip-bowls setting up. And I'd agree with that.

Any tractor flattening out the natural undulations of the inshore sand structures, cusps etc would prevent proper gutters setting up.

wally's picture
wally's picture
wally Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 10:39am

Perhaps it’s an urban myth, but some Bondi locals reckon, when they are filming Bondi Rescue, they stop grading the beach and the natural rips occur which creates surfing opportunities. When filming stops, grading resumes and it turns back into closeout city.

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink Saturday, 1 Jun 2024 at 5:00pm

I’ve long thought that the sand grooming/rubbish removal straighten everything out, to the detriment of the banks.

legrope1's picture
legrope1's picture
legrope1 Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 8:41pm

Olympic Park

bbbird's picture
bbbird's picture
bbbird Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 9:05pm

kick start a rip; you would need to add alot a rock & or 1000's x concrete filled car bodies out into a straight sandy coast.
Breakwalls might be needed with the sea level rise anyway... Colleroy, Wamberal, Stockton, NSW etc.
predicable ripbowls, when at the right length, depth, swell angle...are epic.
more sucky wedges or superbank's anyone?

Standingleft's picture
Standingleft's picture
Standingleft Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 9:30pm

Juicy stuff Craig.
The best rip bowls get bent
the wedging power pocket
open playing fields appear
Sink your rail here my friend
Sink your rail here

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 12:05am

Love all this Wave Porn from craig & crew...good stuff!

Back of a High Rip Bank is Basher'z bread'n'butter
Anchor one leg on Rip Bowl Hot Spot as tbb clocks the crew gettin' sucked out to sea.
Crew talk gear with Pros jostlin' out to sea...soon all are dots in the universe.
Tide's turning & stoking WOTD & Top Guns now hustlin' from the back of the grid...
With only Kooks left to rashie-front the Beast...'bout now tbb is grinnin' from ear to ear!
Never went nowhere...simply stood me ground & wait for world to spin my way like clock work.
Would not believe the view tbb gets of puffed out Fury Road warrior's tailing the back of the Beast.

Too bad, so sad... tbb's WOTD again...never grow tired of tickling the Beastie's underbelly.
Come to pappa...crash test dummy corkscrews a backdoor to tumble roll a staircased dirt drainer!
4 barrel rolls to shore now surf same backwash out the channel to scoop the final wide banger...ahoy!
Flip a massive backwashed Big Bertha beached whale starfish tickled tummy rub a dub...hurts so good!

Set after set with boardriderz dumbfounded how the basher has it on a Yo Yo string...
Rip Bowl is basher'z dream-hour every time is dinnertime!
2 waves every set ...the Slab Drainer & Big Bouncy Bertha...boardriders fight over the washin' up!
Get it hot wired like a Velodrome Loop circuit...no time to stop for a breather!

Boardriders tape loop > tbb is gettin' too many waves again...cry cry!
Honestly give equal away to the hard luck crew...Go! Go for it! All yours Champ!'
Hot Dogz openly declare the basher has had his share & start takin' tbb out.

Simply stretch arms out & turn up a clean pair of Hands...Wot Tricks where?
Unarmed, smile say Hi > Never drop in, yet still gotta wear the public enemy #1 badge.
Why! For simply surfin' the Line Up instead of stokin' more logs on the campfire!

Feast on the Rip Bowl inside out...the rest is senseless flotsam & gets jettisoned from the bowl.
We all cry salty tears as we wave to one another...Surfjustsurf is all we'll ever be...good'nuff for me!
tbb no longer has the heart of a wave but stoked to feel the waves breaking my heart!

smokeydogg's picture
smokeydogg's picture
smokeydogg Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 3:10am

West Coast NZ is rip bowl city, just gotta have some serious paddle fitness if you want to surf for more than an hour !

juegasiempre's picture
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juegasiempre Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 6:20am

I agree with the comments. It seems many Victorian beaches have them, kilcunda, gunnamatta, woolies, West of Otway. South coast and central coast have them and they're a lot more friendly regarding paddling due to the period! The MNC doesn't really except the breakwalls and headlands but the beachies are generally better except the double bar ones.

I love/hate a ripbowl. There's times where you always seem to be paddling and are getting nothing!

As an aside I think the craziest rips I've been in have been in Bali or Victorian beachies with the long period waves.

abc-od's picture
abc-od's picture
abc-od Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 7:21am

Great timing Craig! Yesterday a co-worker wanted to have a lunchtime surf with me, which is something I don't normally do as I'm not much of a talker in the surf. He chatted in the car, chatted while getting into our wetsuits and chatted while walking down the sand. We paddled out to a ripbowl and he chatted in the channel and he was probably chatting while he rushed northwards at great speed. Saw him again half an hour later and he did exactly the same thing.

I reckon I got 30 or 40 waves while he complained how bad it was.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 7:46am

Haha, perfect!

Island Bay's picture
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Island Bay Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 8:33am

Good to hear I'm not the only silent one.

And good score!

sean killen's picture
sean killen's picture
sean killen Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 7:34am

My local beaches are rip bowl dependent I love em breaks up the crowd but the paddling some days destroys ya ..

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 7:44am

It's interesting that some regions just don't provide the setups.

Moving from Adelaide to Manly some 15 years ago was when I was properly introduced to these weird and wonderful things.

Waits and Parsons do offer a couple at times but not to the quality of the East Coast.

Over that time my main aim now is to hunt and chase down those windows, as for me they provide so much variation, joy, frustration and fitness.

After certain swells they can remain in place for weeks across the Manly stretch, slowly changing here and there, but then comes a big south swell which effectively fills in all those beautiful gutters and rips, shutting them down within a day.. The process being littoral transport of sand from south to north with the swell and currents, filling in the deepwater holes.

teaqueue's picture
teaqueue's picture
teaqueue Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 10:47am

Except then you get the Pembroke left rip bowl on bigger south swells. Board and confidence breaker often times, king maker if you can get in quick.

harrycoopr's picture
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harrycoopr Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 5:04pm

Should've been at waits the other day!!

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 5:50pm

I saw Goudie's story. Cooking. Have had that same right really good!

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 7:54am

Sand transport must be the key.
When they do show here is after prolonged quiet periods, usually with small combo swells, which allows sand to settle and rips to form.

Winter last year my wife and I surfed a very fun rip bowl which lasted a while.
It's usually a very small wave phenomenon.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 8:17am

Victoria would have to be rip-bowl capital of Oz wouldn’t it?
Can either be the most fun or frustrating surf of your life.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 8:25am

Possibly. At least east of Melbourne.

In contrast, there'd be some places in WA that'd have no idea what a rip bowl is.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 8:47am

Also a few beachies around past Cape Otway that you need to be Trevor Hendy to surf as the rip-bowl affect is running that hard.

spinafex's picture
spinafex's picture
spinafex Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 9:31am

Woolamai. Usually the reform rights - you need to be in rhythm, don't need to paddle, just sit there and let the rip push you into the take off. If you try to sit on the take off point, you won't get any.

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 4:44pm

Yes had both, and yes we do have a lot just got to be in rhythm, fit, and preferably young with a bit of volume in your board.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 8:23am

We don't get that many rip bowls around where I live now, but when they do form it's during periods of smaller easterly quadrant swells.

The arrival of a long period south swell - even if only mid-range in size - has the same effect as upper wind shear on a cyclone. Knocks the top off it. The sand starts moving along the beach and the simple in/out sand and waterflow moves with it.

Have a hunch that beaches/coasts with frequent rip bowls face square into the prevailing swell direction.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 12:11pm

Yep, I tend to agree with facing the swell direction.

Juliang's picture
Juliang's picture
Juliang Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 8:27am

SE QLD does have a few good permanent beach breaks, mainly wedgy peaks due to offshore reefs refracting the swell or man made structures, but the majority range from full close outs to sometimes triangular banks with deep channels, occasional rip bowls.But then again waves aren’t always so perfect in a rip bowl.

spaceman's picture
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spaceman Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 10:19am

Shhhh.

teaqueue's picture
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teaqueue Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 10:41am

That's a great read Craig.

Burgess's picture
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Burgess Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 11:03am

SE QLD beachies seem to need days or even weeks of small 1-3ft E quadrant swells for the bowls to form, and the same small 1-3ft E swells to enjoy the bowls. Extremely rare, usually a S quadrant swell will rip the banks apart, leading back to the mostly permanent longshore gutters and close outs.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 11:24am

Exactly...There is a Seasonal Rogues Gallery of Goldie Reverse Lefts.
Can pick an empty one amongst of 3 or 4 along an otherwise ordinarily bypassed Close out Stretch.
Reverse...as in the Wider Southern Take off Strike plate that peels in northerly direction.
Surfin' flat out South while being corkscrewed further & faster to the North...
These reverse Rip Banks gotta lotta inside fuel boiling bigger wave faces towards Slam Down Shories!

Can still own one for an hour or two or even three + sometimes for days on end!

Sure...semi retired goldie Hodad basher should pipe up 'bout that...secret spot/s still a thing huh!
Who woulda thought that in 2024 local knowledge is still Highly Prized...
Knowing wot swell & tide time winds up the Rip Banks is precious & blowins have excellent hearing!
Blowins : "Heard some local say to hit KFC...ain't nobody knows that sweet secret!"

Iced vovo's picture
Iced vovo's picture
Iced vovo Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 12:13pm

A certain beach west of Otway has amazing rip bowls when I've travelled there. My local on the Cenny coast gets them from time to time as well, great fun & great ode to the rip bowl.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 12:16pm

The answer to the trivia question
The greatest rip bowl is Mundaka Spain.
The sheer intensity, the size it holds
I've never seen a rip bowl like it
Incredible.......
Haliewa , close second....
Fuck that wave is heavy at size....
P.s I'm not going to name the ones in vic.

Terminal's picture
Terminal's picture
Terminal Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 1:32pm

Otto is on record arguing Merimbula Bar as better than Mundaka

harrycoopr's picture
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harrycoopr Thursday, 30 May 2024 at 9:44am

Merimbula Bar is Great... Merimbula Bar in school holidays not so great

Terminal's picture
Terminal's picture
Terminal Thursday, 30 May 2024 at 10:01am

Lol, too true

Terminal's picture
Terminal's picture
Terminal Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 1:30pm

There's one lurking at my local at the moment. Nice little right reformer.

Onlytwo's picture
Onlytwo's picture
Onlytwo Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 2:55pm

At my local where Stu grew up we have had a scalloped shoreline but no banks until today! Rip Bowls operating across a few locations up the stretch of the beach thinning out the crowds and a lotta fun. As mentioned above gotta stay tuned to the flow or your getting a paddle session!

TomB's picture
TomB's picture
TomB Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 5:27pm

Best article on surfing for the year - thank you.

Quick question - I spent 10 years hunting the rip bowls of south bondi that were always there (in some form), I then moved to manly and the abundance is a lot less. Is there any particular feature of the manly stretch that doesn’t promote more of them?

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 5:51pm

Thanks Tom.

Time of year and swell direction for Manly. This summer there weren't as many or as good as usual.

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming Thursday, 30 May 2024 at 6:27pm

I think there is four types of rip bowls.

1. On long beaches where swell almost always hits straight on to the beach like in Victoria, Kilcunda, Woolamai, Gunnamata, Johanna etc (swell hits all these beaches straight on 95%+ of the time the only time it doesn't is in rare SE swells) so water generally gets pulled straight back out instead of pulled in a long shore sweep in a gutter.

You can even get them on east coast beaches like the Gold Coast Mermaid to Surfers stretch if you get a good run of east swells that hit straight on causing outside banks to link up with inside banks because water is getting pulled straight out instead of a long shore current. (sadly the banks rarely last long once a SE or NE swell hits)

And you can also get them form in the beachies around Kuta-Legian in Bali.

2. Rip banks at the end of beaches in smaller bays where water often pulls back out next to the rocks instead of sand forming around the rocks so you are surfing towards the rocks into a rip, these can happen anywhere but some of the best ive surfed are on Tassies west coast and could heaps more size than Victoria's rip banks.

3. Reef breaks that have a similar set up where a rip pulls back out into or next to the wave.

4. Other like in a larger river mouth or next to a break wall, i wouldn't call a set up like Merimbula bar a rip bowl though water doesn't pull out or into the the wave it pulls out behind the wave, if you paddle out at the end of Merimbula bar it generally doesn't pull you out to the take off, but if you jump into the water in the true river it pulls you out to the take off area, similar but different.

A rip bowl for me is when the rip is pulling out or into the wave holding it up, a lot of the time no matter how clean and offshore it is you still have some bump from the rip especially near the end of the wave, although it also can clean up the wave face in an onshore especially if its a reform which rip banks often can be.

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batfink Saturday, 1 Jun 2024 at 5:09pm

Hate ‘em, personally. Too much paddling and I can never get the timing right.

Too lazy also.

But they’re not that common where I usually find myself.

Halfscousehalfcockneyfullaussie's picture
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Halfscousehalfc... Monday, 3 Jun 2024 at 9:37pm

After heavy rain when the lagoons get opened by the council seems to be more rip bowls?? Sydney/central coast benefit……..

Craig's picture
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Craig Tuesday, 4 Jun 2024 at 6:03am

Totally. That's cause the outflow carves a deep channel through the banks and sets in motion some sort of movement. It's not always the case such as if the big swell associated with it creates a storm bar out the back, cutting off the flow.

Halfscousehalfcockneyfullaussie's picture
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Halfscousehalfc... Tuesday, 4 Jun 2024 at 6:13pm

I’ve seen terrigal and wamberal lagoons either have top level sand or a big sand delta causing close outs, but I would say if there hasn’t been a big rain event for a while especially after summer with the sand build up it generally improves when the councils opens the channels up

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nolocal Wednesday, 5 Jun 2024 at 9:54am

grew up surfing a ripbowl called suck up. Haven't scored a good one in years, so much fun when you get in the rhythm.

Don't know what my shoulders hate more, a rip bowl and long paddle out the point.

Jason.s.gay's picture
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Jason.s.gay Thursday, 6 Jun 2024 at 6:35pm

Love them on my paipo. Wave count 5-8x anything I get on a board.