10 Biggest Waves In The World Ever!

A common question amongst surfer is what are the biggest waves in the world?

This article will look at the biggest waves in the world, including the biggest wave ever surfed recorded on camera!

Whether your looking for the biggest waves in the world or across all of the worlds oceans we've got you covered!

Biggest Waves In The World

  1. Nazare
  2. Jaws
  3. Cortes Bank
  4. Mavericks
  5. Killers
  6. Waimea
  7. Teahupo'o
  8. Cloudbreak
  9. Mullaghmore Head
  10. Belharra

Lets get into the detailed list of the biggest waves in the world with videos!

1. Nazaré

Location: Nazaré, Portugal, Atlantic Coast

Biggest Wave Surfed: 84 feet

About: Famed for its underwater canyon amplifying colossal swells, Nazaré offers a thrilling yet perilous experience for big wave surfers, standing out for its ferocity and the potential for multiple-wave hold-downs near the shorebreak.

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Biggest Waves In The World - Nazare

The five oceans of the world largest to smallest are: the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Southern and Arctic.

2. Jaws

Location: Peahi, Maui, Hawaii 

Biggest Wave Recorded: 60+ feet

About: Nestled along Maui's north shore, Peahi, or Jaws, lures elite surfers seeking the ultimate thrill with its colossal waves, standing as a picturesque yet perilous big wave surfing haven.

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Biggest Waves In The World - Jaws

3. Cortes Bank

Location: Cortes Bank, California

Biggest Wave Recorded: 66 feet

About: Off the coast of Southern California, Cortes Bank is a legendary big wave spot known for its powerful and unpredictable swells, attracting daring surfers to its challenging and remote location.

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Biggest Waves In The World - Cortes Bank

4. Mavericks

Location: Mavericks, California, USA

Biggest Wave Recorded: 60+ feet

About: Situated off the coast of Northern California, Mavericks is a world-renowned big wave destination, drawing surfers to its colossal swells and the infamous Mavericks Invitational surfing competition. The break is notorious for its challenging conditions and iconic waves that can reach towering heights.

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Biggest Waves In The World - Mavericks

5. Killers

Location: Baja California, Mexico

Biggest Wave Recorded: 50+ feet

About: Along the Baja California coast, Todos Santos, also known as Killers, offers surfers a thrilling challenge with its powerful waves. This iconic spot is recognised for its impressive surf conditions and attracts adventurers seeking the rush of big wave surfing.

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Biggest Waves In The World - Killers

6. Waimea

Location: Waimea, Hawaii

Biggest Wave Recorded: 60+ feet

About: Waimea Bay on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, is a legendary big wave surf spot famous for its monstrous waves and hosting the iconic Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau big wave invitational. Surfers from around the world are drawn to the adrenaline-pumping waves that define Waimea's surfing legacy.

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Biggest Waves In The World - Waimea

7. Teahupo'o

Location: Teahupo'o, Tahiti

Biggest Wave Recorded: 21 feet 

About: Situated off the coast of Tahiti, Teahupo'o is renowned for its heavy, barrelling waves that challenge even the most experienced surfers. The infamous break is part of the World Surf League tour, attracting elite surfers to test their skills against the powerful and awe-inspiring waves of Teahupo'o.

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Biggest Waves In The World - Teahupo'o

8. Cloudbreak

Location: Cloudbreak, Fiji

Biggest Wave Recorded: 40+ feet

About: Off the coast of Tavarua Island in Fiji, Cloudbreak is celebrated for its world-class left-hand reef break. Surfers flock to this remote paradise to ride the massive, perfect waves that can reach heights of over 40 feet, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking an exhilarating big wave experience.

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Biggest Waves In The World - Cloudbreak

9. Mullaghmore Head

Location: Mullaghmore Head, Ireland

Biggest Wave Recorded: 55+ feet

About: Nestled on the west coast of Ireland, Mullaghmore Head is a raw and rugged big wave spot, renowned for its towering waves and challenging conditions. Surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, Mullaghmore attracts elite surfers looking to conquer the powerful swells that define this iconic Irish surf destination.

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Biggest Waves In The World - Mullaghmore Head

10. Belharra

Location: Belharra, France

Biggest Wave Recorded: 60+ feet

About: Located off the coast of Urrugne in the Basque Country, Belharra is a big wave surfing gem in Europe. This renowned reef break produces massive waves, attracting surfers seeking the thrill of riding some of the largest swells in the region. The powerful waves of Belharra have secured its status as a premier big wave spot in the Atlantic.

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Biggest Waves In The World - Belharra

More Of The Biggest Waves In The World

The Biggest Wave Ever Recorded: 1,720 feet

On July 9, 1958, a colossal wave, the largest ever recorded, appeared in Lituya Bay, Alaska, following a powerful earthquake. 

Picture a gigantic wall of water, reaching an unbelievable height of 1,720 feet (524 metres) near the Gilbert Inlet.

As this enormous wave travelled through Lituya Bay, it destroyed everything in its path. The force snapped off soil, plants, and trees, wiping out the shorelines. 

At the time, three fishing boats were there, witnessing the immense power of the largest tsunami ever documented.

What's The Biggest Wave Ever Surfed?

In October 2020, Sebastian Steudtner etched his name in surfing history by tow-surfing a colossal wave at Nazaré, Portugal.

This renowned spot is famous for its unbelievably massive waves, and Steudtner's ride reached an impressive 86 feet. This remarkable feat earned him the Guinness World Record for the Largest Wave.

Largest Wave Surfed - Guinness World Records

What Similarities Can Be Found Among The World's Best and Most Extreme Surf Spots?

Fast: These waves only give a few seconds to popup otherwise you become part of the whitewash.

Heavy: Each wave is known for its power meaning when they break enormous force is created meaning big wave surfers often practise breath-work before taking on these big waves.

Big: Its obvious but when you see one of these waves with your yes it’s overwhelming how big they are.

Challenging: These waves don’t allow for mistakes therefore big wave surfers have to be very focused allowing no room for error.

Deadly: These waves are known to injure and claim lives of surfers. Any surfer that takes these giants on gains huge respect from the surfing community.

How Do Waves Get So Big?

Larger and potentially dangerous waves often result from adverse weather or natural occurrences which genertaes ocean swell.

When severe storms move inland, they generate a phenomenon known as a storm surge; a long wave formed by strong winds and a persistent low-pressure area. Earthquakes are also known to generate huge waves which many surfers dare to take on.

Famous Big Wave Surfers

Famous big wave surfers include Greg Noll, Waimea Bay pioneers, Pat Curren, Jose Angel, Eddie Aikau, Brock Little, Jeff Clark, Mark Foo, Laird Hamilton and Darrick Doerner.

Summing It Up: What To Do Now

Now you know where the biggest waves in the world are is it time to go surf them? Make sure you're well read on some of the unknown facts of the ocean before entering the big wave environments!

If your interested in learning more about surfing discover our many guides that will inform you on your surfing journey. Don't forget to follow us on Facebook & Instagram to stay informed on our amazing surf shots and stories shared from surf creators around the world!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are the waves in Nazaré so big?

The waves in Nazaré are exceptionally large due to an underwater canyon that funnels and amplifies swells, creating ideal conditions for colossal waves.

What city has big waves?

Cities like Nazaré in Portugal, Jaws in Maui, and Teahupo'o in Tahiti are known for hosting big and challenging waves.

Is every 7th wave the biggest?

No, the notion that every 7th wave is the biggest is a myth. Wave size is influenced by various factors, and there is no fixed pattern for the occurrence of the largest wave.

Has anyone surfed a 100-foot wave?

Yes, some surfers, like Garrett McNamara, have successfully surfed waves exceeding 100 feet, particularly at spots like Nazaré, Portugal.

How big is the Nazaré wave?

The waves at Nazaré can reach extraordinary heights, with some exceeding 100 feet during extreme conditions.

What is the deadliest wave in the world?

Teahupo'o in Tahiti is often considered one of the deadliest waves due to its heavy, barrelling waves and the challenging reef break.

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