The Top 10 Most Extreme Big-Wave Surfing Locations

Most people know it’s time to get out of the water when enormous waves start crashing in. However, things are not the same for surfers. Big waves flowing in indicate it’s the ideal opportunity for them to jump in and try their luck!

Although the most skilled surfers never screw about once the waves become too high, avid large wave surfers always aim for waves that hit a few storeys.

Whether you are a proud big surfer or simply fascinated by the sport, these are the top ten most extreme large-wave surfing places on the planet!

Leiria – Nazaré, Portugal

nazare surf

Nazara Canyon creates massive waves that smash just in front of Nazaré’s lighthouse. Waves can reach heights of up to 100 feet. This is where some of the greatest waves ever surfed occurred. Tow-in surfing is the only option here.

Plan your trip to Nazaré

Baja California – Todos Santos, Mexico

todos santos mexico surf

Todos Santos is a surfing destination 12 miles off the coast of Baja California, Mexico, on the Islas Todos Santos. Its deep underwater canyon funnels surge energy to generate powerful and massive waves that can reach a height of 30 feet.

Plan your trip to Todos Santos

Maui – Jaws (Pe’ahi), Hawaii

maui surf

Jaws take pleasure in waves that can reach heights of more than 60 feet. Big wave surfing is done both paddle-in and tow-in at this location. This Hawaiian hotspot is known for having some of the cleanest big wave areas, but it doesn’t make it any less dangerous or difficult.

Plan your trip to Maui

Offshore – Cortes Bank, Southern California

cortes bank california surf

Cortes Bank forms around 100 miles off the coast of Southern California. The wave breaks on a little shallow seamount bank that is part of the Channel Islands.

The surges here go from the very open deep ocean to the shallow tops of the bank, forming a massive surf. The site has experienced the largest waves ever surfed, with heights ranging from 70 to 90 feet.

County Sligo – Mullaghmore Head, Ireland

mullaghmore head

Mullaghmore Head in County Sligo, Ireland, has 50-foot-long left-hand barrels breaking over a small reef. A high tide and a large swell are required for it to be ideal for surfing, and it is mostly a tow-in location.

Oahu – Waimea Bay, Hawaii

waimea bay surf

Waimea Bay is widely considered as the official birthplace of big wave surfing. The sport’s limitations were challenged for the first time in the 1950s, with gigantic waves of more than 30 feet breaking close the coast.

Plan your trip to Oahu

Tasmania – Shipsterns Bluff, Australia

shipsterns bluff

Shipsterns Bluff is regarded as one of the world’s most deadly large waves. The wave here recovers and then breaks in drops and steps, making surfing incredibly difficult and difficult.

Half Moon Bay – Mavericks, California

mavricks two surfers

Mavericks has waves up to 60 feet high that break over a rugged and jagged reef surrounded by deeper channels that focus the swell’s force. In 1975, Jeff Clark, a 17-year-old Half Moon Bay resident, became the first person to surf large Mavericks. However, it wasn’t until the 1990s that this large wave site became famous and well-known.

Monterey County – Ghost Trees, California

ghost trees waves

Ghost Trees is a well-known tow-in big wave surf area that breaks over massive boulders and rocks just offshore of Pebble Beach. The waves here can reach 50 to 60 feet. As it travels over the shallow huge stones, its massive wave can boil and ledge.

Tahiti – Teahupoo

teahupoo surf

Teahupoo has some of the world’s most powerful and ideal waves. The broad lip aggressively and quickly heaves over itself when the surf advances from deep water to the shallow reef. The waves are over 20 feet high.

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