«I’m not sure if I have surfed the perfect wave yet. I’m still searching,» says Jamie Mitchell, World Surf League Big Wave Tour surfer.

From highly skilled professional athletes to hobbyists after the rush of the open waves, surfing is enjoyed by people from all walks of life, from all over the planet. All you need is ocean (but not always), a board of some kind, waves, and a lot of enthusiasm.

While the tricks and twists of seasoned professionals amaze us, below the surface lies a raft of surfing science as impressive as the feats performed on the waves.

One wave could power over 30 million smartphones

Anyone who has watched waves crashing will have a sense of their enormous power and it is this power that may prove to be one of the most promising sources for renewable energy; potentially supplying 10% of global needs.

Waves are formed in a number of ways, but in most cases they are created by wind blowing over the surface of the ocean. As long as the wave travels forward slower than the speed of the wind, energy will be transferred from the wind to the wave.

There are clever and complicated equations that can accurately determine the amount of energy in a wave, but to put it simply the bigger the wave, the bigger the power and there are few places on Earth where the waves are as big as they are at Nazare in Portugal.

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© Ana Etxeberria