5 Big Wave Surfing Locations Every Surfer Should See

Surfing in Maui

Big Wave Surfing is a lot of things, much in the same way as normal surfing. It’s intense, thrilling, life threatening, and can show you some of the most exciting scenes that nature’s ocean can provide. Rolling wave after wave with enough power that it could kill a person in a second, the immense force of the ocean is a thing that can’t be truly understood until you’ve seen it and felt it. These 5 big wave surfing locations are ones every surfer should see, even if you might not be up to riding them.

With that said, it can’t be understated how dangerous big wave surfing is. This is an extreme sport and even surfers with decades of experience know that every big wave could be their last. Most surfers probably shouldn’t try to surf a wave like that, but even just witnessing these locations is worth the while of any surfing enthusiast.

1. Pe’ahi, Maui

Pe’ahi, commonly known as Jaws, is found in the north shore of Maui. The Big Wave World Tour even holds the Pe’ahi challenge here, and is so remarkable that the best and most daring surfers from around the world come here to challenge the massive wave.

Jaws is famous for how well formed the massive waves here are. The nickname “Jaws” comes from the famous shark movie, and like the character, the wave is sudden and hard to predict.

2. Teahupoo, Tahiti

The Teahupoo Reef is located in the southwest end of Tahiti, part of and the main island in the French Polynesian archipelago. The wave is one of the world’s heaviest and most dangerous, as it’s claimed the lives of several famous surfers who had tried the challenge it over the years. Memorable for the way it folds over itself more than a normal wave, the biggest danger it presents is the coral reef that the swells break onto. Failing here can get you smashed and sliced by the deadly coral just a bit under the tide, making this a spot for only the most confident surfers.

3. Waimea Bay, Hawaii

Waimea has a long history for it’s epic waves and is the location that most other popular big wave spots are measured against. It’s also famously deadly, and has claimed the lives of many world-class surfers and celebrities, like Dickie Cross and Donnie Soloman. The big waves in Waimea have been setting the standards of the sport for decades, known best for it’s deadly shorebreak and waves that can reach up to 60 feet in height.

4. Cortes Bank, California

Part of California’s Channel Island chain, the Cortes Bank is a spot that’s as unique as it is dangerous. Considered a fearsome nautical hazard, a small submerged island rests here and is responsible for massive waves when swells hit on it. The island which rests just barely under the water, could be best described as an underwater mountain. This “mountain” is just sitting in the open sea and it’s not hard to imagine what it’s like when waves form here. Greg Long sure knows, as in 2012 this location almost ended his life.

5. Ghost Trees, California

Another famous big wave location in the state of California, Ghost Trees is fearsome enough for it’s wave faces that can go as high as 80 feet. However, if giant waves that crash into equally massive boulders weren’t enough for you, the area is known for being shark-infested too, including the great white shark. Some of the best big wave surfers would tremble at the insane location, where the famous Peter Davi lost his life.