The Scariest (And Biggest) Surf Spots

The Scariest (And Biggest) Surf Spots

Don’t believe in monsters? See these scary surf spots and you may just change your mind.

Coral reef spikes impaling a surfer, trapped by a limb in an underwater cave, being sucked into an hole for a two-wave hold down in 30ft surf – these are no average surf spots.

Monsters are real, and they can be found in the form of these great leviathans of waves.

Here’s our round up of the most petrifying places to paddle out.

Teahupo’o, Tahiti

Teahupo’o. The World’s Scariest, Biggest Waves And Surf Spots

Ominous from the offset, the very name, Teahupo’o is loosely translated as ‘to sever the head’ or ‘place of skulls’.

The ocean approaching the reef is super deep, however the reef is awfully shallow. To create waves on a big swell, water is pulled off the reef – and then redeposited upon it.

Added to this, it’s a highly hefty wave; often thicker than it is tall, that breaks in just a few feet of water over a coral reef. Ouch.

Mavericks, U.S.A

Mavericks. The World’s Scariest, Biggest Waves And Surf Spots

Mavericks has a heinous hidden threat: deadly hold-downs.

A deep hole in the ocean, just below the whopping peak, inhales seawater causing regular two wave hold-downs. This swirling, surging hole known as “The Cauldron”, has sadly been the cause of many deaths.

Shipstern Bluff, Tasmania

Shipstern Bluff. The World’s Scariest, Biggest Waves And Surf Spots

Picture the ocean folding up as it tries to buck the surfer off, and you’ll have something near Shipstern in Tasmania.

Throw in double up lips with sheer drops to create an absolute terror of a slab, that mutates as it breaks.

Nelscott Reef, U.S.A.

Nelscott Reef. The World’s Scariest, Biggest Waves And Surf Spots

This lonely, cold water spot has many a great white lurking underneath. Plus, it’s a kilometre off-shore, so they’ll be no-one to hear your screams.

Cortes Bank, U.S.A.

Cortes Bank. The World’s Scariest, Biggest Waves And Surf Spots

A hundred miles west of San Diego, with no landmass in sight, lies one of the world’s most fickle, rarely ridden, terrifying waves. Huge swells create mountains of waves moving fast, and the take off shifts every fifty yards or so with each set.

Chris Nixon describes it as “a sort of supernatural Everest – it pulls like Melville’s whale, an enigmatic monster that lures you out for the hunt – and nearly kills you every time”.

Cold, shallow and sharky. This wave will humble the most ballsy of surfers – Kelly Slater nearly drowned here back in 2001.

Mullaghmore, Ireland

Mullaghmore. The World’s Scariest, Biggest Waves And Surf Spots

The spot is full of rips with swirling, churning water and to navigate the entry, you’ll need to leap off slippery boulders.

The wave itself can rise up to 67 feet, hence it’s fitting that Mullaghmore comes from an Irish saying: “An Mullach Mor,” meaning “The Great Summit.”

Meteorites, Mauritania

Surf Mauritania

An eerie right that is flanked by abandoned shipbreaks.

Sadly, the shipwrecks slice up what could have been a world class right – but it’s still got peeling points and slabs to ride from swell that bounces off the wreckage.

To add to the spooky factor, there are around 16,000 unexploded bombs lingering in this area; an unsavoury leftover from wars.

Best not to wander off the beaten path.

Agiti, Spain

Agiti, Spain. The World’s Scariest, Biggest Waves And Surf Spots

This spot, flanked by rocky headlands, rarely breaks and has only been surfed twice.

The spot needs ideal conditions just to start working, and a surfer with guts of steel.

Once a huge swell rolls in, the wave breaks into a bay that’s only 200 metres wide, and then crashes into giant boulders.

If you fall, there isn’t an escape route, and no jet ski can pick you up.


PUERTO ESCONDIDO, Mexico. The World’s Scariest, Biggest Waves And Surf Spots

The “Mexican Pipeline” funnels big south swells into a small section of beach.

An aggressive wave that breaks over hard-packed sand means mistakes made here have critical consequences.

Pipeline, U.S.A

Pipeline. The World’s Scariest, Biggest Waves And Surf Spots

There have been more deaths at Pipeline than any other surf spot for a number of reasons.

The wave itself breaks over jagged volcanic coral reef, that is shallow and often can impale surfers with the coral spikes that jut out. Catch a limb or a leash in an underwater caves and you can be trapped down there.

It’s often more dangerous when a swell is rolling in as the waves double up on each other. The wave is always shifting, leading to uncertainty in the line up.

Finally, the line-up itself is always crowded. It’s a pilgrimage of a surf spot, so you’ve got all the usual hazards to contend with, combined with a crowd.

It’s often a recipe for disaster.

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