10 Famous American Surfers: The Best!

It’s always up for debate, "who are the famous American surfers"?

We list the current most famous American surfers, going into detail of their impact on America's surf culture and surfing as a whole.

The list of famous American surfers is forever growing so here is our 10 best!

Most Famous American Surfers

Famous American surfers include Kelly Slater, Tom Curren, Lakey Peterson, Caroline Marks and Laird Hamilton to name a few.

This list of the most famous American surfers is forever growing! Let's get into each famouAmerican surfers story below in detail.

Want to find more surfers? View our list of the most famous surfers ever!

Caroline Marks

Born: February 14, 2002

Origin: Boca Raton, Florida, U.S.

Style: Regular

famous american surfers

About: Caroline Marks, born on February 14, 2002, is an American surfer hailing from Boca Raton, Florida. At just 21, she's already claimed the title of 2023 WSL Women's World Tour Champion.

Achievements: Caroline is no stranger to breaking records. In 2018, she snagged Rookie of the Year, and in 2019, she took down three-time world champion Carissa Moore to claim her first WSL event title. The youngest Olympian in 2020, Caroline marked her presence with stellar performances, finishing fourth overall.There is no wonder she on the list of most famous American surfers.

Instagram: @caroline_markss

Famous American Surfers - Caroline Marks Surfing

Conner Coffin

Born: July 13, 1993

Origin: Santa Barbara, California, USA

Style: Regular

famous american surfers

About: Meet Conner Coffin, a California wave maestro born on July 13, 1993, in the surf haven of Santa Barbara. Known for his powerful rail game, Conner is a seasoned surfer who's been carving his way through the waves since his debut in the 2008 Men's QS.

Achievements: Conner's journey is etched in his powerful rail work. In 2017, he clinched 1st place in the Men's QS, showcasing his mastery. With a standout 3rd place in 2015 and consistent performances, Conner's California dream is alive, leaving an indelible mark on the surfing world.

Instagram: @connercoffin

Famous American Surfers - Conner Coffin Surfing

Dane Reynolds

Born: September 7, 1985

Origin: Long Beach, California, U.S.

Style: Regular

famous american surfers

About: Dane Reynolds, born on September 7, 1985, in the surf-rich Long Beach, California, is an American pro surfer making waves from Ventura. Renowned for his fearless and experimental style, Dane's surfing journey began at age 10 when he migrated from Bakersfield to Ventura.

Achievements: Dane's surfing prowess emerged early; by age 13, he was already competing, and at 16, he dropped out of school to fully dive into the world of surf. In 2010, he made a splash by tying for fourth in the ASP World Tour. His video, "First Chapter," snagged Best Male Performance and Video of the Year at the 2006 Surfer Poll Awards.

Instagram: @sealtooth

Famous American Surfers - Dane Reynolds Surfing

Kelly Slater

Born: February 11, 1972

Origin: Cocoa Beach, Florida, U.S.

Style: Regular

famous american surfers

About: Enter the legend, Kelly Slater, born on February 11, 1972, in the surfing haven of Cocoa Beach, Florida. Regarded as one of the greatest surfers of all time, Kelly has carved his name into the history of the sport.

Achievements: Known as probably one of the most famous American surfers, Kelly's surfing saga began early turning pro at just 18. He's a record-shattering 11-time World Surf League (WSL) World Champion, an accomplishment that showcases his unparalleled skill and dedication. In 1992, he became the youngest world champion ever at age 20. His mastery extends to iconic breaks like Pipeline and Teahupo'o.

Beyond competitions, Kelly is a pioneer. He popularised the use of the shortboard "thruster" design, forever altering the surfing landscape. His competitive spirit is matched only by his environmental advocacy, with a commitment to sustainable practices in the surfing world. He recently led a project to create a new ave pool in Abu Dhabi

Instagram: @kellyslater
Famous American Surfers - Kelly Slater Surfing

Kolohe Andino

Born: March 22, 1994

Origin: San Clemente, California, U.S.

Style: Regular

famous american surfers

About: Meet Kolohe Andino, born on March 22, 1994, in the surf paradise of San Clemente, California. Nicknamed "Brother," Kolohe embodies the spirit of a waterman, diving into the world of waves from a young age.

Achievements: Kolohe's surf journey is etched with triumphs. At just 15, he clinched the National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) title, setting a record that marked the beginning of an illustrious career. Riding the wave of family influence, son of top-ranked surfer Dino Andino, Kolohe secured two USA Surfing championship titles by high school.

His breakout moment occurred in 2011, conquering the ASP 6-Star Quiksilver Brazil Open of Surfing and the Vans Pier Classic world tour events. In 2015, he triumphed in the inaugural World Surf League (WSL) event, the Surf City Pro. The pinnacle of his career came in 2019 when he became the first U.S. surfer to qualify for the Olympic Games, representing the United States at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Instagram: @koloheandino24

Famous American Surfers - Kolohe Andino Surfing

Laird Hamilton

Born: March 2, 1964

Origin: San Francisco, California (moved to Hawaii as an infant)

Style: Regular

famous american surfers

About: Raised in Hawaii, he encountered legendary surfer Bill Hamilton, who later became his adoptive father. Laird’s early life was marked by a passion for surfing and a tough, outsider mentality. Hamilton’s surfing career is intertwined with groundbreaking achievements, notably co-inventing tow-in surfing and successfully riding the heaviest wave ever recorded at Teahupo’o on August 17, 2000. His preferred waves include Teahupo’o, Pipeline, and Jaws. Beyond the waves, Laird Hamilton delved into modelling, gaining recognition in the fashion world. His modelling career began at 17 when he was discovered on a beach in Kauaʻi, eventually leading to contracts with prestigious publications and brands.

Achievements: He co-invented tow-in surfing, revolutionising the approach to riding colossal waves. His unparalleled courage and skill were showcased on August 17, 2000, when he successfully navigated the heaviest wave ever ridden at Teahupo’o, a testament to his mastery of the most challenging surf conditions. These accomplishments underscore Hamilton’s profound impact on the evolution of surfing, solidifying his status as a legend in the surfing community.

Instagram: @lairdhamilton

Famous American Surfers - Laird Hamilton Surfing

Lakey Peterson

Born: September 30, 1994

Origin: Santa Barbara, California

Style: Regular

famous american surfers

About: Meet Lakey Peterson, born Laura Louise Peterson on September 30, 1994, in the coastal haven of Santa Barbara, California. At 29, she stands as a powerhouse in women's professional surfing.

Achievements: Lakey's surfing journey is studded with triumphs. She's been ranked as high as #1 by the World Surf League, securing her status among the elite. In 2009, Lakey made history with the first-ever aerial in NSSA women's competition, a testament to her groundbreaking style.

Instagram: @lakeypeterson

Famous American Surfers - Lakey Peterson Surfing

Peter Mel

Born: November 24, 1969

Origin: Santa Cruz, California, U.S.

Style: Regular

famous american surfers

About: Meet Peter Mel, born on November 24, 1969, in the iconic surf town of Santa Cruz, California. Renowned as a 'big wave' surfer and the son of four-time surfing National Champion John Mel, Peter has left an indelible mark on the world of surfing.

Achievements: Peter Mel's surfing journey has been a tale of triumphs in the realm of big-wave surfing. Highlights include winning the O'Neill Cold Water Classic in 1997, the Billabong Pico Alto Copa Burn in 2011, and being crowned Big Wave World Tour Champion in 2011/2012. Notably, he claimed victory at the Mavericks Invitational in 2012/2013, solidifying his status as a big-wave legend making him a big part of the the most famous American surfers.

Instagram: @peter_mel

Famous American Surfers - Peter Mel Surfing

Taylor Knox

Born: May 15, 1971

Origin: Thousand Oaks, California, U.S.

Style: Regular

famous american surfers

About: Meet Taylor Knox, an American professional surfer born on May 15, 1971, in Thousand Oaks, California. His surfing journey began at the age of 8, and despite facing challenges, Knox's determination led him to pursue a professional career. Overcoming a back injury at 15, he went on to become a powerhouse in the world of surfing.

Achievements: Taylor Knox's impact on professional surfing is undeniable. In 1998, he triumphed in the inaugural K2 Big-Wave Challenge, showcasing his prowess on a 52-foot wave at Todos Santos. Knox achieved his highest ASP World Tour rating of 4th place in 2001. His enduring influence earned him a well-deserved spot in the Surfers' Hall of Fame in 2011.

Instagram: @taylor_knox

Famous American Surfers - Taylor Knox Surfing

Tom Curren

Born: July 3, 1964

Origin: Newport Beach, California, U.S.

famous american surfers

About: Meet Thomas Roland Curren, an iconic figure in American surfing born on July 3, 1964, in Newport Beach, California. Renowned as a former professional surfer and musician, Curren holds a significant place in surfing history. He achieved a groundbreaking feat by becoming the first American surfer to clinch the World Surf League World Title, securing this honour three times in 1985, 1986, and 1990.

Achievements: One of the most famous American surfers, Tom Curren has had a hug impact on professional surfing. Joining the ASP World Tour in 1983, he competed against legends like Rabbit Bartholomew, Shaun Tomson, and Cheyne Horan. His competitive drive and distinctive surfing style led to three world championships and 33 event wins, a record surpassed only by Kelly Slater. In 1990, Curren accomplished a legendary 1200-foot wave ride at Margaret River, an unparalleled feat in surfing history. Despite retiring from competitive surfing in the mid-1990s, Curren continues to participate in contests, showcasing his enduring passion for the sport. He remains a wildcard in World Championship Tour (WCT) trials and contests, demonstrating his timeless influence on the surfing community.

Instagram: @tomcurrenofficial

Famous American Surfers - Tom Curren Surfing

More Famous American Surfers

Famous American Surf Spots

  • Pipeline (Oahu, Hawaii): Known for its powerful and challenging waves, Pipeline is one of the most iconic surf spots globally loved by all famous American surfers.
  • Banzai Pipeline (Oahu, Hawaii): Another renowned break on the North Shore, Banzai Pipeline is famous for its massive and barreling waves, attracting expert surfers seeking intense tube rides.
  • Trestles (California): Located in Southern California, Trestles is a collection of surf breaks known for its high-performance waves. It hosts various surf competitions, including events on the World Surf League Championship Tour for famous American surfers.
  • Rincon (California): Often referred to as the "Queen of the California coast," Rincon is a classic point break in Santa Barbara known for its long, peeling waves and consistent surf conditions.
  • Mavericks (California): Situated near Half Moon Bay, Mavericks is renowned for its massive and challenging waves, making it a premier big-wave surfing destination. It attracts famous American surfers during the winter months when swells are at their peak.

Summing It Up: What To Do Now

Now you have a vast list of the most famous American surfers, be sure to check out famous surfers from countries around the world such as France and Australia!

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

Who is the best male surfer of all time?

The title of the best male surfer of all time is subjective and varies based on personal opinions. However, Kelly Slater is often considered one of the greatest surfers, holding multiple world championships and revolutionising the sport.

Who were the famous male surfers in the 80s?

The 1980s featured iconic male surfers such as Tom Curren, Mark Occhilupo, Tom Carroll, and Shaun Tomson, each leaving a significant impact on the sport during that era.

Who is the king of surfing?

The title "king of surfing" is subjective, but Kelly Slater is often referred to as the king due to his numerous world championships and enduring influence on the sport.

Who is the most famous girl surfer?

One of the most famous female surfers is Bethany Hamilton, known for her resilience and determination after surviving a shark attack. Other notable female surfers include Stephanie Gilmore, Carissa Moore, and Lisa Andersen.

Who are the famous surfers on the Gold Coast?

The Gold Coast in Australia has been home to renowned surfers like Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, and Stephanie Gilmore, all of whom have achieved great success in professional surfing.

Which country has the best surfers?

Australia is widely recognised as a powerhouse in surfing, producing numerous world-class surfers. Other countries with strong surfing traditions include the United States, Brazil, and Hawaii.

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