Extreme Sports The Most Influential Surfers of All Time  

Ranker Sports
84 votes 22 voters 22 items

List Rules Vote up the surfers who made major contributions to the sport and changed it forever.

Ready to rank the most influential surfers of all time? In a sport in which its culture is just as important as skill level, it's not just the world's best surfers that go down as the most influential. Sure, many of these notable surfers are some of the best to ever do it, yet some simply took surfing to the forefront and helped it become what it is today. For instance, Bruce Brown may have been a surfer, but he's recognized for his impact on surfing through his many surf films and documentaries—which contributed greatly to how we see surfing today. 

Of course, most of these important surfers are indeed the best of all time. While there's been plenty of famous surfers to grace the beaches around the world, those to follow brought more than just skill to surfing—these are surfers who changed the sport forever. From the Duke and Miki Dora to leading surf ladies like Stephanie Gilmore and Layne Beachley, these surfers have had a huge impact on surfing as we know it. 

Who do you think should top the list of the most influential surfers? Take a look below and vote up your picks. 

1
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Duke Kahanamoku is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Influential Surfers of All Time
Duke Kahanamoku Died at 78 (1890-1968) Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku was a Hawaiian-American competition swimmer who was also known as an actor, lawman, early beach volleyball player and businessman credited with ...more

2
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Sean Collins is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Influential Surfers of All Time
Sean Collins Died at 59 (1952-2011) Sean Robb Collins was the founder of Surfline and a noted figure in the areas of surfing and surf forecasting.

3
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Miki Dora is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Influential Surfers of All Time
Miki Dora Died at 68 (1934-2002) Miki "Da Cat" Dora, a.k.a. Mickey Dora, a.k.a. "The Black Knight," was an iconic Malibu surfer of the 1950s and 1960s. He had a unique style, in and out of the water, and was ...more

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Kelly Slater is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Influential Surfers of All Time
Kelly Slater age 46 Robert Kelly Slater is a Floridian professional surfer known for his competitive prowess and style. He has been crowned ASP World Tour Champion a record 11 times, including 5 consecutive titles ...more

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Tom Curren is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Influential Surfers of All Time
Tom Curren age 53 Tom Curren is an American surfer. He was born to father Pat and mother Jeanine. His brother Joe is also a professional surfer and popular photographer and he also has a sister named Anna. Curren ...more

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Doc Paskowitz is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Influential Surfers of All Time
Doc Paskowitz age 97 Dorian "Doc" Paskowitz was an American surfer and physician, who gave up practicing medicine for a living and decided to become a professional surfer. In 1972, he founded a surf camp ...more

7
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Bruce Brown is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Influential Surfers of All Time
Bruce Brown age 80 Bruce Brown is an American documentary film director, known as an early pioneer of the surf film. He is the father of filmmaker Dana Brown.

8
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Laird Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Influential Surfers of All Time
Laird Hamilton age 54 Laird Hamilton 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 professional volleyball ...more

9
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Greg Noll is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Influential Surfers of All Time
Greg Noll age 81 Greg Noll, 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

10
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Mark Occhilupo is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Influential Surfers of All Time
Mark Occhilupo age 51 Marco Jay Luciano "Mark" Occhilupo is an Australian surfer and winner of the 1999 World surfing champion title. Occhilupo, also known as Occy, began his professional career in the ...more

11
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Martin Potter is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Influential Surfers of All Time
Martin Potter age 52 Martin "Pottz" Potter is a former professional surfer. Potter's parents emigrated to Durban, South Africa when he was two years old. He began surfing off the beaches of his hometown ...more

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Nick Gabaldon is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Influential Surfers of All Time
Nick Gabaldon Died at 24 (1927-1951) Nicolás Rolando Gabaldón was an early surfer who is credited by surfing experts with being California's first documented surfer of African-American and Latino descent at a time ...more

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Shane Dorian is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Influential Surfers of All Time
Shane Dorian age 45 Patrick Shane Dorian is an American surfer from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. He spent 11 years touring on the World Championship Tour as a professional surfer. Dorian quit competition surfing in 2003 to ...more

14
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Andy Irons is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Influential Surfers of All Time
Andy Irons Died at 32 (1978-2010) Andy Irons (July 24, 1978 – November 2, 2010) was a professional surer. Irons learned to surf on the dangerous and shallow reefs of the North Shore in Kauai, Hawaii, and won three world titles ...more

15
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Michael Peterson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Influential Surfers of All Time
Michael Peterson Died at 60 (1952-2012) Michael "MP" Peterson was a professional Australian surfer. He was considered one of the best surfers in Australia during the early to mid-1970s and was recognised for his deep tube ...more

16
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Stephanie Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Influential Surfers of All Time
Stephanie Gilmore age 30 Stephanie Louise Gilmore is an Australian professional surfer and six-time world champion on the Women's ASP World Tour. She was born in Murwillumbah, New South Wales, Australia on 29 January ...more

17
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Layne Beachley is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Influential Surfers of All Time
Layne Beachley age 45 Layne Collette Beachley AO is a former professional surfer from Manly, New South Wales. She won the World Championship seven times. Currently she is one of the four vice presidents of the ...more

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John John Florence is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Influential Surfers of All Time
John John Florence age 25 John John Florence is a Hawaiian surfer. The oldest of three children, Florence grew up in Hale'iwa, in an ocean-side house at Banzai Pipeline. He resides with his mother, Alexandra, and his two ...more

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Taj Burrow is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Influential Surfers of All Time
Taj Burrow age 39 Taj Burrow is an Australian retired professional surfer. Burrow was born in Yallingup, Western Australia to American parents and began surfing at age 7. In 1998 he qualified for the ASP World ...more

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Mark Richards is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Influential Surfers of All Time
Mark Richards age 61 Mark Richards, OAM, known as MR, is an Australian surfer, four time world champion, and highly respected by his peers.

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Simon Anderson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Influential Surfers of All Time
Simon Anderson age 63 Simon Anderson 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", which ...more

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Dane Reynolds is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Influential Surfers of All Time
Dane Reynolds age 32 Dane Reynolds is a professional surfer from Ventura, California. He is known for his "go for broke" style of surfing that includes many experimental and aerial maneuvers. Reynolds ...more