World Rankings: Top 5 Deadliest Waves


While surfing provides an exhilarating experience for the adrenaline hungry individual, there is no denying that the sport is as deadly as awesome it may be.

And with every beautiful wave captured on camera, there is some danger lurking in the background.

Recent surfing events have involved people getting hammered at Jaws or bodies getting catapulted at Cape Fear, or some surfers getting driven into the rocks. It is not something to be taken lightly considering that these guys involved in such incidents were professional surfers.

If you dream of surfing till old age, it may be a good idea to avoid these waves if you’re not sure you can survive them. Here are current world rankings for the top 5 deadliest waves based on death toll.

1. Pipeline, Hawaii

Pipeline has killed several surfers more than any other spot in this list. And it has threatened the lives of many others who dared taking on its waves.

List of recorded surfer casualties:
Joaquin Velilla (January 12, 2007)
Joshua Nakata (March 16, 2008)
Malik Joyeux (December 2, 2005)
Jon Mozo (February 9, 2005)
Moto Watanabe (January 19, 2004)
Travis Mussleman (March 20, 2000)
Andy Chuda (March 25, 1989)

2. Teahupoo, Tahiti

If someone searches the web for the phrase “surfer deaths Teahupoo” and several results with the words “nearly dies” or “nearly died” often come up; the most recent one being Niccolo Porcella, who nearly died at Chopes. There have been countless near-death encounters for surfers who braved these waves.

There have been five recorded deaths at Teahupo’o since the year 2000. The most notable was local Tahitian surfer Briece Taerea who was killed after breaking his cervical vertebra and spinal cord in a dangerous attempt to duck dive in Teahupo’o in 2000.

3. Puerto Escondido, Mexico

The waves in Puerto Escondido remain a threat to surfers and swimmers despite improvements in lifeguard protection.

Surfer Casualties:
Jay Adams 2014,
Noel Robinson 2011
Ron Cassidy 2007

4. Waimea Bay, Hawaii

This spot is not a playground. It has proven to be dangerous for big-wave surfers. The most recent death was Alec Coole who paddled out and disappeared, October last year. Search for his body has been called off days later.

Surfer Casualties:
Alec “Ace” Coole October 2015
Donnie Solomon, 1995
Dickie Cross 1943

5. Maverick’s, California

The Half Moon Bay, with massively heavy waves have nearly taken the life of Jacob Trette in 2012 and Hollywood leading man Gerard Butler during the filming of the Jay Moriarity bio-pic in 2011.

Shane Dorian has experienced a brush with death in a wipeout at Maverick’s, which has inspired him to develop the inflatable life vest worn by big-wave surfers of today.

Surfer Casualties:
Sion Milosky 2011
Mark foo 1994