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It's 2013 and still no one's getting around in flying cars or surfing wave-pools over belly high. For a solid five decades and counting surfers have been fascinated by the possibility of channeling the naturally occurring resource into an on-demand duplicate of the real thing, yet wave pools hold their place as mostly a flavor-of-the-year novelty. In 1969, Fred Hemmings applied James Bond-ish style and the the right tool for the job to "Big Surf" in Tempe, Arizona, perhaps thinking, as many surfers still are, "Maybe next year." Photo: Dick Graham

A product of his environment, Russ Bierke takes to the rock slabs of South Australia with deftness that most surfers could only hope to cultivate in twice as many years as the sixteen-year-old. Photo: Russell Ord

With three-thousand-plus miles of coast and a bounty of shapely coves to choose from, the sheer number of options in Chile can make it difficult to stay put. After a few weeks of sturdy south swell overloading this particular point, conditions shifted into place for the handful of surfers who waited it out. "It was every bit as good as it looks," photographer Ryan Craig recalled of the morning conditions. Photo: Ryan Craig

Photographer Lucano Hinkle commits to precarious waters in Puerto Escondido while Mainland Mex resident Diego Cadena demonstrates the more commonly preferred high-line route through the wave field. Photo: Lucano Hinkle

"Yes, culture perpetually comes to forks in the road," Charlie Smith wrote of surfing's evolutionary cul-de-sacs in TSJ, issue 22.3 "There are groupings that choose the Right Historical Side and groupings that choose the Wrong Historical Side." Here, kneeboarder Chayne Simpson assumes the position and makes a case for his near-standing brethren in Wollongong, Australia. Photo: Steen Barnes

With the closing glimpse of light to spot a landing, Craig Anderson aims to elevate his ender, on-point and on-time, between the evening redness and the dark. Photo: Rod Owen/A-frame

After a six-hour day of surfing at one of the many fine pointbreaks in Salina Cruz, Rusty Long stood on the beach and snapped off a few frames, including this one of a local surfer named Fito. According to Long, "This wave went by the name 'Holy Shit' [according to] the original guys who surfed it because of this end section which often leaves no escape…things go completely bionic down the bar." Photo: Rusty Long

Refraction is one phenomenon of physics that’s uniquely important to Floridian surfers. When a lengthy run of northwest wind blows toward the Caribbean, it can create hard-to-predict waves that bounce off the Bahamas or Gulf Stream, puzzling forecasters and sending swell back to Florida. Here Shea Lopez enjoys refraction of another sort, courtesy of the Sebastian Inlet pier. Photo: Dick Meseroll

Going fast. Speed. Sometimes it’s important. Sometimes we want to know: “Who won the race?” “This board fast?” “How’s it go down the line?” Much ado about the thrill of zero-to-sixty and the forward march of progress and blowing through the occasional red light. But what of back-peddling from the finish line? Or wheeling the family convertible from the garage to stop hard at a few green lights? It could be nice—never know until you try—to get past cruising speed in some Central American backwater and tug on the emergency brake until it’s dislodged from the center console and you’re just left there, holding the disembodied piece of plastic in your hand like a single-fin out of water. What’s wrong with a little recession? A little addition by subtraction? Throw a power-bog in the mix. Photo: Chris Klopf, Surfer: Tony Roberts

"People often come two weeks and stay two months," said photographer and northwest Australian resident Scott Bauer of this camping post on the bluff near his home. Out at the shacks—off the grid and outside cell range—the swell is consistent and the elements harsh, with plenty of freediving and fishing to stay occupied while the tide gets right. Photo: Scott Bauer

It's difficult, during winter in the Northeast, to justify throwing ass over nose, weighed down by thick neoprene and a potentially frigid swim to the beach. On a clean New Hampshire peak, Mikey Moran enjoys the added flexibility provided by the springtime thaw, hip-checking the long wall ahead with little mind for the moment to follow. Photo: Brian Nevins

Some waves are best surfed on the Web. Take this backless reefbreak off the coast of Australia. Drop a ski and jet over to the shifting wave field. Strap in or paddle out and hope for a glimpse of order among the chaos. The same swell met countless tapered pointbreaks on this morning. Yet an open ocean chase still remains a game fit for a select group of players. Photo: Rod Owen

Desert Point, the site of at least one regrettable Warner Brothers film and often packed with 30-plus vans on a the right evening, there isn’t much that’s certifiably “deserted” about the wave. No matter, in the words of Robert Frost, "I have it in me so much nearer home/ To scare myself with my own desert places." For a quick scare Ozzie Wright made the ferry-hop from his expat outpost on Bali to the faux-solitude and coral skewers offered by a full moon low-tide. Photo: Pete Frieden

How easily the violence of South Pacific swell meeting a shallow Tahitian reef pass is muted by the imposing calm of a lush coastal backdrop, glass-framed with the quiet eloquence of an early twentieth century silent picture. Photo: Tim McKenna

There are many paths, short and long, for seekers of the culminating hover-and-stall through glassy morning beachbreak. Cory Lopez takes the abbreviated route to shapely Mexican peaks, his wetsuit still damp from a Stateside session. Photo: Anthony Ghiglia