An area of deep water adjacent to a surf break, usually running perpendicular to the beach. Channels are integral to many of the world's breaks, as they help create the underlying high-to-low bathymetric profile that allows waves to break with consistent and predictable form. Channels also provide a safe, quick route into the surf zone, as well as a stand-by area. Surf photographers often shoot from the channel.

Most waves in the tropics spill into reef channels created by freshwater river r...