Our last few days in Playa Gigante were punctuated with daily trips to one of the nearby surf breaks called Ponga Drops. It turns out that the land in front of Ponga was bought by a real estate developer several years ago who proceeded to build a private golf course on the land, sell the surrounding real estate and memberships to the golf course. Then he found out it was in front of a really killer surf break. Too bad the developer doesn't like surfers.
Most surf waves are either steep waves that can form hollow barrels (Pipeline in Hawaii being the classic example) or less steep waves that have more crumbly tops on them. The steep hollow ones are fast, hard to ride and have potentially severe consequences as there is a lot of water crashing down from the top of the wave (I have seen as many as three people break boards in one week.) The crumbly top ones tend to be a littler easier to catch, a lot slower, and have less impact on you if you are underneath one as it breaks.
Ponga is the best of both worlds. It stars of as a crumbler, gives you enough time to get on the wave, stand up, and think about what you are doing before it gets really steep and picks up speed. Then, just when you think your ride is over, another crumbly section appears, you get your footing again just before it stands up. I have had this process repeat three times on a single wave.
This is not a wave for everybody. For one, many people want a big hollow barrel from the start. Another reason is that when we were there it was 8-10 feet high making it a little big for many people (I can't guess what it would be like on a big day.) The last reason is that you need to cough up a $5000US membership fee and $600US annual fees in order to park anywhere close to it. It's a good thing that the dude that ran our hostel shelled out the money and took me along!