Sports

The Best Surfers of All Time 

Ranker Sports
Updated August 17, 2019 1.7k votes 304 voters 5.9k views 38 items

List Rules Vote up the best surfers of all time, from early pioneers to today's greatest.

In a sport that involves huge crashing waves, tons of skill, and the potential of shark attacks, the world's best surfers deserve some serious credit—aside from their talent on the board. In all seriousness though, the best surfers in the world not only possess some of the greatest skills of anyone to do it, but many of the famous surfers to follow have had a huge impact on surfing. Whether they're still out there doing it or they've since passed, these are the best to ever do it and they'll go down at the top of their class.

While well-known greats like Duke Kahanamoku and Miki Dora are certainly surf legends, these early pioneers really laid the groundwork for the dudes and chicks to follow. From early chargers like Nat Young and Greg Noll to modern-day rippers Dane Reynolds and Kelly Slater, the world of surfing has seen some true greats. So, who are the best surfers in the world? Better yet, who are the best surfers of all time?

Check out the list of top surfers below and vote up those who you think are truly the best. Feel free to vote surfers down, as well as add others to the list.

list ordered by
1
Kelly Slater is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Surfers of All Time
Age: 47

Birthplace: Cocoa Beach, Florida, United States of America

Robert Kelly Slater (born February 11, 1972) is an American professional surfer, author, actor, model, environmental activist, businessman, and innovator, best known for his unprecedented 11 ...more

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2
Andy Irons is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Surfers of All Time
Dec. at 32 (1978-2010)

Birthplace: Oahu, USA, Hawaii

Philip Andrew Irons (July 24, 1978 – November 2, 2010) was an American professional surfer. Irons originally began surfing with his brother Bruce on the shallow and dangerous waves of Kauai, ...more

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#5 of 17 17 People Who Were Killed by Bugs #6 of 22 The Most Influential Surfers of All Time

3
Tom Curren is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Surfers of All Time
Age: 54

Birthplace: Santa Barbara, California, United States of America

Tom Curren is an American surfer.
4
John John Florence is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Surfers of All Time
Age: 26

Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of America

John "John" Alexander Florence (born October 18, 1992) is an American professional surfer. He is known as "one of the most dominant Pipe surfers of his era" and won the title ...more

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#3 of 40 The Best Surfers In The World Right Now #16 of 22 The Most Influential Surfers of All Time

5
Mick Fanning is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Surfers of All Time
Age: 37

Birthplace: Penrith, Australia

Michael Eugene Fanning , nicknamed "White Lightning" (born June 13, 1981) is a former Australian professional surfer. Fanning won the 2007, 2009 and 2013 ASP World Tour. In 2015 he ...more
6
Duke Kahanamoku is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Surfers of All Time
Dec. at 78 (1890-1968)

Birthplace: Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of America

Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku (August 24, 1890 – January 22, 1968) was a Native Hawaiian competition swimmer who popularized the ancient Hawaiian sport of surfing. He was born ...more

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7
Laird Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Surfers of All Time
Age: 54

Birthplace: California, United States of America

Laird John Hamilton (born March 2, 1964) is an American big-wave surfer, co-inventor of tow-in surfing, and an occasional fashion and action-sports model. He is married to Gabrielle Reece, a ...more

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#38 of 38 Famous People Who Were Raised By Single Mothers #8 of 22 The Most Influential Surfers of All Time

8
Rob Machado is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Surfers of All Time
Age: 45

Birthplace: Sydney, Australia

Robert Edward Machado (born October 16, 1973, Sydney, Australia) is an American professional surfer and environmental activist.
9
Gerry Lopez is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Surfers of All Time
Age: 70

Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of America

Gerry Lopez (born November 7, 1948), aka Mr. Pipeline, is an American surfer, shaper, journalist, and film actor.
10
Mark Richards is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Surfers of All Time
Mark Richards Age: 61

Birthplace: Newcastle, Australia

Mark Richards (born 7 March 1957), known as MR, is an Australian surfer, four time world champion (1979–1982), and highly respected by his peers.
11
Mark Occhilupo is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Surfers of All Time
Age: 52

Birthplace: Kurnell, Australia

Marco Jay Luciano "Mark" Occhilupo (born 12 February 1966) is an Australian surfer and winner of the 1999 ASP World title.Occhilupo, also known as "Occy", began his ...more
12
Dane Reynolds is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Surfers of All Time
Age: 33

Birthplace: Long Beach, California, United States of America

Dane Reynolds (born September 7, 1985 in Long Beach, California) is an American professional surfer from Ventura, California. He is known for his "go for broke" style of surfing that ...more
13
Stephanie Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Surfers of All Time
Age: 31

Birthplace: Murwillumbah, Australia

Stephanie Louise Gilmore is an Australian professional surfer and seven-time world champion on the Women's ASP World Tour (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2018). She was born in ...more
14
Eddie Aikau is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Surfers of All Time
Eddie Aikau Dec. at 32 (1946-1978)

Birthplace: Kahului, Hawaii

Edward Ryon Makuahanai Aikau (Kahului, Hawaii, May 4, 1946 – March 17, 1978) was a Hawaiian lifeguard and surfer. As the first lifeguard at Waimea Bay on the island of Oahu, he saved over 500 ...more
15
Sunny Garcia is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Surfers of All Time
Age: 49

Birthplace: USA, Maili, Hawaii

Sunny Garcia (born Vincent Sennen Garcia on January 14, 1970 in Mā'ili, on the Westside of Oahu, Hawaii) is a professional surfer. He grew up in Wai'anae and, after leaving school, debuted on ...more
16
Shane Dorian is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Surfers of All Time
Shane Dorian Age: 46

Birthplace: Kailua, Hawaii, United States of America

Patrick Shane Dorian (born July 19, 1972), or "Shane", is an American surfer from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. He spent 11 years touring on the World Championship Tour as a professional ...more
17
Taj Burrow is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Surfers of All Time
Age: 40

Birthplace: Busselton, Australia

Taj Burrow (born 2 June 1978) is an Australian retired professional surfer. Taj retired from the ASP World Tour in June 2016.
18
Gabriel Medina is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Surfers of All Time
OdinFT added Gabriel Medina Age: 25

Birthplace: Maresias

Gabriel Medina is a professional surfer.
19
Shaun Tomson is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Surfers of All Time
Age: 63

Birthplace: Durban, South Africa

Shaun Tomson (born 21 August 1955) is a South African professional surfer and former world champion, environmentalist, actor, author and businessman.
20
Jordy Smith is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Surfers of All Time
Jordy Smith Age: 32

Birthplace: Durban, South Africa

Jordan Michael "Jordy" Smith (born 11 February 1988) is a South African professional surfer, competing on the World Championship Tour (WCT). In 2007 Smith won surfing's World ...more
21
Joel Parkinson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Surfers of All Time
Age: 37

Birthplace: Nambour, Australia

Joel Parkinson (born 10 April 1981) is an Australian surfer who competes on the ASP (Association of Surfing Professionals) World Tour. After twelve years competing at the elite level on the ASP ...more
22
Lisa Andersen is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Surfers of All Time
Lisa Andersen Age: 49

Birthplace: Ormond Beach, Florida

Lisa Andersen (born March 8, 1969, in Ormond Beach, Florida) is a four-time world surfing champion from the United States. She won four successive world titles from 1994 to 1997. She was named ...more
23
Greg Noll is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Surfers of All Time
Age: 82

Birthplace: San Diego, California, United States of America

Greg Noll (born February 11, 1937), nicknamed "Da Bull" by Phil Edwards in reference to his physique and way of "charging" down the face of a wave, is an American pioneer of ...more
24
Filipe Toledo is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Surfers of All Time
OdinFT added Felipe Toledo Age: 24

Birthplace: Ubatuba, São Paulo - Brazil

Filipe Toledo (born April 16, 1995) is a Brazilian professional surfer who competes on the World Surf League Men's World Tour since 2013. In 2014, after also competing on some events on the ...more
25
Martin Potter is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Surfers of All Time
Martin Potter Age: 53

Birthplace: United Kingdom

Martin "Pottz" Potter (born October 28, 1965 in Blyth, Northumberland, England), is a former professional surfer.