Many lifelong surfers have the ability to recognize a wave simply by glancing at a photograph. The boil at Pipeline. The emerald-green water of Jeffreys Bay. The forested mountains framing Teahupo’o. All dead giveaways. But every now and then, an image void of identifiable water color or recognizable landmarks can stump even the most knowledgeable wave chasers. Take this image of Mikala Jones, for example. Do you know where this wave is? What continent, even? Any idea what it’s named? Or what swell direction it needs? Didn’t think so. But ambiguity can be a good thing. In an era when Google Earth, online forums, and social media posts leave little to the imagination, it’s comforting to know that there are a handful of perfect waves still shrouded in mystery.
[This feature originally appeared in our May 2017 Issue, “Frontiers.” Order our newest Issue here.]