• Sports

The Best Surfers of All Time

List RulesVote 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.

  • 1
    171
    29

    BirthplaceCocoa Beach, Florida, USA

    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 world  ...more

    #53 of 1,316 The Best Athletes Of All Time#490 of 574 American Public Figures Who Are National Treasures#60 of 133 The Best Joe Rogan Podcast Guests

  • 2
    Dec. at 32 (1978-2010)
    82
    33

    BirthplaceOahu, 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, Hawaii,  ...more
  • 3
    Age: 57
    65
    24

    BirthplaceUSA, California, Santa Barbara

    Tom Curren is an American surfer.  ...more
  • 4

    BirthplaceUSA, Honolulu, Hawaii

    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 of 2017 World Surf  ...more
  • 5
    Dec. at 77 (1890-1968)
    63
    31

    BirthplaceWaikiki, 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 towards  ...more

    #49 of 60 Famous People with Long Names#74 of 204 The Best Olympic Athletes from United States Of America#688 of 1,358 Every Person Who Has Been Immortalized in a Google Doodle

  • 6
    62
    30

    BirthplacePenrith, 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 survived an  ...more
  • 7
    64
    34

    BirthplaceUSA, California, San Francisco

    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

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

  • 8

    Mark Richards

    Age: 64
    39
    14

    BirthplaceNewcastle, 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.  ...more
  • 9
    43
    21

    BirthplaceUSA, Honolulu, Hawaii

    Gerry Lopez (born November 7, 1948), aka Mr. Pipeline, is an American surfer, shaper, journalist, and film actor.  ...more
  • 10
    61
    41

    BirthplaceSydney, Australia

    Robert Edward Machado (born October 16, 1973, Sydney, Australia) is an American professional surfer and environmental activist.  ...more
  • 11
    42
    22

    BirthplaceKurnell, 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 professional career in the World  ...more
  • 12
    OdinFT added

    Gabriel Medina

    Age: 27
    34
    14

    BirthplaceMaresias

    Gabriel Medina is a professional surfer.  ...more
  • 13

    Eddie Aikau

    Dec. at 31 (1946-1978)
    38
    19

    BirthplaceKahului, 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 people  ...more
  • 14
    41
    25

    BirthplaceUSA, Long Beach, California

    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 includes many  ...more
  • 15

    BirthplaceMurwillumbah, 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 Murwillumbah, New  ...more
  • 16
    28
    18

    BirthplaceDurban, South Africa

    Shaun Tomson (born 21 August 1955) is a South African professional surfer and former world champion, environmentalist, actor, author and businessman.  ...more
  • 17
    Age: 43
    26
    17

    BirthplaceBusselton, Australia

    Taj Burrow (born 2 June 1978) is an Australian retired professional surfer. Taj retired from the ASP World Tour in June 2016.  ...more
  • 18
    26
    18

    BirthplaceNambour, 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 World  ...more
  • 19
    Age: 84
    23
    16

    BirthplaceUSA, California, San Diego

    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 big wave surfing and is  ...more
  • 20

    Shane Dorian

    Age: 49
    30
    25

    BirthplaceKailua, 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 surfer. Dorian quit  ...more
  • 21
    28
    23

    BirthplaceUSA, 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 the  ...more
  • 22

    Lisa Andersen

    Age: 52
    22
    15

    BirthplaceOrmond 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 ASP's  ...more
  • 23

    Bruce Irons

    Age: 42
    20
    14

    BirthplaceOahu, Hawaii

    Bruce Irons (born November 16, 1979) is an American regularfoot professional surfer from Hanalei, Kauai and younger brother of three-time world champion Andy Irons. Best known for his radical aerial  ...more
  • 24
    OdinFT added

    Felipe Toledo

    Age: 24
    18
    14

    BirthplaceUbatuba, 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

    Simon Anderson

    Age: 67
    17
    12

    BirthplaceSydney, Australia

    Simon Anderson (born 7 July 1954) is an Australian competitive surfer, surfboard shaper, and writer. He is credited with the 1980 invention of a three-fin surfboard design, called the "thruster".  ...more
not on the list?add item #39add new item
List Rules: Vote up the best surfers of all time, from early pioneers to today's greatest.