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10 great surfers of all time

Last Updated: 08.05.19


Surfing is a very popular seaside sport and is a favorite of many people, but only a very few of those who have dared out at sea on a surfboard has managed to become world famous, appreciated by fans and other athletes as well. It is hard to say who is the beast surfer or why he deserves to be known as the number one, but a list of 10 remarkable names can be read below.

Greg Noll

Also known as Da Bull, the Californian native is one of the most celebrated surfers of all time. He moved to Hawaii in 1954 where he lived the dream of many enthusiasts who simply could not leave their jobs and families to start a life dedicated to surfing alone.

Back in 1957, he was one of the prominent surfers spending their time around Waimea Bay, but success and worldwide recognition only came in 1969. That year, he rode a 35-foot wave, considered by some to be the biggest wave a surfer ever rode. Even though the attempt almost killed him, he did not have to be towed out after the crazy experience.


Mick Fanning

Many of the world famous surfers are born in Australia, and Mick Fanning is no exception. He is also known as White Lightning, and his most remarkable performances include winning the 2007, 2009 and 2013 ASP World Tours. Like movie heroes, he survived an encounter with a shark that some believe was a Great White, an experience that could have proved fatal for the Australian champion.

Learning to surf at the age of 5, he entered the sport when he was twelve, growing up with other professional surfers. His training is intense and, being a strong man, he is also quick and agile out on the water.


Joel Parkinson

A fan favorite, he is known for his grace and beautiful style but also for his speed and power. His turns are particularly gracious and elegant, even though he nearly snapped his boards under the pressure generated by such maneuvers.

However, he rides in a smooth manner, appreciated by fellow competitors and fans alike. He won 11 elite ASP World Title events, and one world championship which took place in 2012, all this among many other events where he came out first.


Andy Irons

Andy Irons is one of the few surfers who can boast with the performance of winning three ASP World Championships and four Triple Crowns, and everything happening during a very short career.

Known for his rivalry with Kelly Slater, with whom he competed not only once, Andy Irons defeated him in 2003. His short career was ended by his tragic death as a result of cardiac arrest. Even so, his success made him world famous and respected by fellow surfers and fans alike.


Kelly Slater

Arguably one of the best surfers the world has ever seen, Kelly Slater was Andy Irons’ main rival prior to the latter’s untimely death. With 11 world championships won, the American surfer is far ahead of everyone else, being both the oldest and the youngest to win the title of world champion.

He is still competing for titles in various events across the world, and, in spite of his age, he is as agile and skillful as in his youth. Credited with being the one who made surfing mainstream in the early 90s, Kelly Slater was talked about in many TV shows, he also starred in Baywatch and had a band with which he played in the early 2000s.

Pretty much a complete champion, Slater is revered to this day and will remain one of the best surfers of all time.

Duke Kahanamoku

Born in Hawaii, the sportsman is considered by many to be the forerunner of modern day surfing and one of the promoters of the sport. Having won three Olympic gold medals, his record includes many other competitions won.

Besides, he is one of the most popular Hawaiians ever. He also owned a chain of restaurants, which can still be seen in his native place.


Tom Curren

Expectations were high as he made his debut in the world of surfing since Tom Curren comes from a family of surfers. In the meanwhile, he became one of the most appreciated surfers to ever hit the ocean. Being a three-time world champion meant he was skilled enough, yet his style made him popular amongst the masses.

He had a reputation for not taking the financial prizes he was offered and of being quite arrogant, but fans still liked him a lot and history record him as one of the best at this sport.


Nat Young

One of the fathers of modern surfing, Nat Young was born in 1947 in Australia, growing up in a coastal suburb where he caught his love for the seas. In 1966 he was named world surfing champion, and he won another title in 1970.

He also featured in a number of surf films back in the 60s and 70s, retiring from surfing to start writing books about the matter. His style made him popular, besides the natural talent he showed when competing.


Gerry Lopez

Also known as Mr. Pipeline, the Hawaiian sportsman is one of those acclaimed champions who also have great popularity amongst the people. Pipeline Masters contest was renamed in his honor since he dominated with his victories those events.

He grew up in East Honolulu, frequenting the reefs from a very young age; in fact, he became the Hawaii State Champ at only 14 years of age. His mastery started showing during the early days, and shortly after he was recognized as the best tube rider in the world.


Laird Hamilton

The co-inventor of tow-in surfing, the occasional fashion model, and TV icon is also a volleyball player who can boast of an impressive career, filled with success. When he was 17, he was already a great surfer and could have pursued a great career, but he chose to stick to modeling.

However, he returned to the seas where he set the record for the heaviest wave ever ridden successfully and is credited as being the best big wave surfer of all time. He is an environmental activist as well, so, besides his excellent career in surfing, he can boast of many other accomplishments.



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