The Best Big Wave Surf Spots in the World

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Big wave surfing is the ultimate challenge and one that is reserved for the most skilled and experienced surfers.

It’s not a joke, it’s not something to be taken lightly, but if you have the skills, it’s the best way to showcase them.

At the best big wave spots in the world, you can tackle waves that extend to over 80 feet, and it’s those waves and those surf spots that we will look at here.


Nazare is a small fishing village on the coast of Portugal. It has a population of just 15,000 and is as quiet, picturesque, and irrelevant as you would expect a little fishing village to be.

But once you leave those golden coasts, you’ll find some of the biggest and best waves in the world, and it’s these big waves that attract countless pro surfers every single year.

This is where Garrett McNamara surfed a wave that spanned 78 feet back in 2011, and it’s also where Rodrigo Koxa set his record of 80 feet.

In fact, 5 of the 6 biggest waves ever surfed occurred here, including both the male and the female surfing world records.

Not only is Nazare great for surfers, but it’s fantastic for the sport of surfing in general.

It offers some great vantage points for spectators and the videos filmed here help to draw massive exposure to the sport every time there is a new world record.


Located just outside of Pillar Point Harbor in Northern California, Mavericks is one of the toughest surf spots in the United States and has claimed the lives of two famous surfers in the past: Sion Milosky and Mark Foo.

Carlos Burle set a record of 68 feet at Mavericks back in 2001. The water is brutal and unforgiving. There are sharks, huge boulders, and ice-cold winds.

Mavericks has the power to break even the most experienced of big wave surfers.

Pe’ahi (AKA Jaws)

Pe’ahi is located on the north shore of Maui, Hawaii. Commonly known as “jaws”, it attracts a number of big wave surfers every year as part of the Big Wave World Tour’s Pe’ahi Challenge.

It produces some of the heaviest waves in Hawaii and is one of the state’s best surfing destinations.

Cortes Bank

Located roughly 100 miles off the coast of Southern California, Cortes Bank has threatened the lives of many famous big wave surfers, including Greg Long, who nearly died here back in 2012.

It’s one of the best places for big wave surfing in the United States, but it’s definitely not to be taken lightly.

Waimea Bay

Although it’s not as popular as it once was, Waimea Bay is still a great spot for big wave surfing and has allowed many famous surfers to test their skills over the years.

Located on the North Shore of Oahu, the waves can reach up to 60-feet at Waimea Bay and it has claimed a few lives over the years.


Often considered to be one of the best and the most challenging surf spots in the world, Teahupoo, Tahiti, creates top-heavy waves, earning it the title of the heaviest waves in the world.

It has taken the life of pro surfers in the past and is an incredibly dangerous and challenging wave.

If you have the skills, it’s definitely one to add to your bucket list.