When big waves start crushing in, most people know that it is time to get out of the water. But things are different for surfers. Big waves rolling in means that it’s the perfect time for them to get in and take the plunge!
Although the most experienced surfers never mess around once the waves get too high, waves that hit a few stories are always the goal for avid big wave surfers.
Whether you are a proud big surfer or you are just amazed at the sports, here are the 10 most extreme big-wave surfing destinations in the world!
1. Baja California – Todos Santos, Mexico
Todos Santos is a surfing spot that breaks 12 miles offshore of Baja California, Mexico’s Islas Todos Santos. Its deep underwater canyon channels the energy of the swell to form powerful and huge waves that can reach a maximum of 30 feet.
2. County Sligo – Mullaghmore Head, Ireland
Mullaghmore Head in County Sligo, Ireland features giant 50 feet left-hand barrels breaking over a shallow reef. A high tide and a big swell are required for it to be perfect for surfing and the place is mainly a tow-in spot.
3. Half Moon Bay – Mavericks, California
Mavericks boasts of waves as high as 60 feet that break over a rocky and jagged reef surrounded by the deeper channels that focus the energy of the swell. Jeff Clark, a 17-year-old local of Half Moon Bay, became the first-ever person that surfed big Mavericks in 1975. However, it was only during the 90s when this big wave spot gained popularity and wider recognition.
4. Maui – Jaws (Pe’ahi), Hawaii
Jaws take pride in waves that can go beyond 60 feet. The place sees both paddle-in and tow-in big wave surfing. This Hawaiian destination is known as among the cleaner big wave spots although it doesn’t make it any less dangerous or challenging.
5. Monterey County – Ghost Trees, California
Ghost Trees is a famous tow-in big wave surf spot breaking over large boulders and rocks right offshore of Pebble Beach. The waves here reach 50 to more than 60 feet. Its giant wave can boil and ledge as it passes over the shallow large boulders.
6. Leiria – Nazaré, Portugal
Nazara Canyon forms giant waves breaking just right in front of Nazare’s lighthouse. Waves can go as high as 80 to 100 feet. This is where some of the biggest waves that were ever surfed took place. The only option here is tow-in surfing.
7. Oahu – Waimea Bay, Hawaii
Waimea Bay is regarded as the official place of birth of big wave surfing. With the huge waves of more than 30 feet breaking near the shore, this is where the sport’s limits were tested for the first time in the 50s.
8. Offshore – Cortes Bank, Southern California
Cortes Bank breaks around 100 miles offshore of Southern California. The wave here breaks on a shallow small seamount bank that is considered part of the Channel Islands.
The swells here move from the very open deep ocean to the bank’s shallow peaks to form a giant surf. The place has seen the biggest waves ever surfed ranging from 70 up to 90 feet.
9. Tasmania – Shipsterns Bluff, Australia
Shipsterns Bluff is considered one of the world’s most dangerous big waves ever. The wave here reforms and then breaks in drops and steps that make surfing extremely tricky and challenging.
10. Tahiti – Teahupoo
Teahupoo is among the world’s heaviest and most perfect waves. While the swell moves to the shallow reef from deep water, the thick lip violently and quickly heaves over itself. The waves reach more than 20 feet.
Are you ready to try surfing in any of these big-wave destinations?