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Steph Gilmore finds a brief window of clean, empty surf with the change in tides at Pupukea. "It was a nearly flat morning, but we went out anyway," says photographer Morgan Maassen. "Steph was cruising on one of her single-fins and having an absolute blast, surfing by herself." Photo: Maassen

Another morning in the over-saturated Gold Coast lineups transforms the long worn "surfer vs. wave" paradigm into a human vs. human cage match, the groomed sand-bottom point acting as a mere stage for the chaos. Photo: Sean Scott

Cape Cod-based photographer Trevor Murphy and his two brothers paddled out to this well-formed sandbar for the evening glass-off—the only surfers for "a couple miles," according to Murphy—a reminder that sometimes it's more than fine to stick close to home. Photo: Murphy

Brittany Quinn Leonard paces herself down a couple hundred yards of pointbreak in northern Mexico. The preceding three days of overhead swell helped to thin crowds, leaving only the marathoners to indulge in minute-long trim runs. Photo: Kevin Voegtlin

"This wave is up in the desert where I'm from," said photographer Scott Bauer of his session shooting Margaret River's Dino Adrian. "We call it Monuments. It's got a heavy stigma about it and has broken a few bodies and boards." Photo: Scott Bauer

Mid-morning at eBay: a sought after collector's item on the auction block for all 10-day, $5k Mentawai surf tourists—fine as any sculpture crafted by human hands, with only a few paddle-shy bidders to contest. Photo: Jeff Divine

John Florence lives right between Pupukea and Pipeline—both spots are about a football field's length from his backyard to the take-off zone. On this day he took a left out the door, where Zak Noyle, using a 16mm wide-angle lens, caught him on the descent. Photo: Noyle/A-Frame

Like the Caddyshack gopher, Dylan Graves dodges a beating, finds a tunnel, and stays waist below ground at a Caribbean sandbar. Photo: Chris Burkard

In early July the governor of Hawaii appropriated $20 million for the purchase and acquisition of Lipoa Point from the Maui Land and Pineapple Company, effectively preserving the environs of the greater Honolua Bay area for generations to come. Lahaina resident Dusty Payne celebrated by blowing the foam off of a tall frosty one. Photo: Dooma

Jason Kenworthy catches an unknown at one sand-covered reef of winter fame on a lesser-documented condition set: off-season Off the Wall, beachbreaking with a touch of windswell, a steady flow of against-the-grain lefts for the choosing.

Aggrandizing fist-pumps fall limp and the low drone of jet-skis passing in the channel turn muted for Joel Parkinson, gliding on to the cadence of a rainbow-brushed lip at Cloudbreak. Photo: Brian Bielmann

Unabashed by a little high-tide wonk and windswell, Nate Tyler sets—and un-sets—his fins near home in Central California. Photo: Chris Burkard.

With Cardiff's kelp beds reducing the afternoon seabreeze to a dull boil, Cyrus Sutton frames the inherent appeal in washing off the day's grime at the north end of a 9'6". Photo: Chris Straley/A-Frame

Just after dawn, Mickey Brennan makes first tracks through a New South Wales tube, where a gang of jet-skis and bodyboarders usually swarm by late morning. Photo: Hilton Dawe

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