Image from surfersvillage.com. Surfer catching wave at Mavericks
If you want to know where the good surf spots are sure you could ask your local bro’, or you could gather some geologist and map the seafloor at high resolution. Sure the first might cost you at most a cigarette and beer while the latter requires a multiyear grant that rivals the budget of a third world country. I still vote for the mapping. Those of you who surf already know about the Mavericks a big wave break off Half Moon Bay in Central Cali. The spot attracts only the best riders where waves can crest over 50 feet. Let us not forget the freezing water and jagged rocks.
So what causes the waves? Surfing gods? Nope, it is a long gradual continental slope that provides a ramp allowing waves to hold before breaking. This combines with deeper and calmer water on both sides of the ramp that cause a wave convergence.