15 of the Best Waves in the World

15 of the BEST WAVES in the WORLD

Any given spot could produce “the best” wave when conditions come together, such as swell, tide, wind etc.  From the beginning, surfers have traveled near and far looking for the perfect wave. Here are 15 of the best waves in the world (no particular order). Who knows what other secret breaks are out there waiting to be ridden?


best waves in the world

Photo  Ted Grambeau

The Legendary J-BAY South Africa. Such a dreamy righthander, that just seems to go on and on. Long, fast and hollow. Cold? yes, – Sharky? yes – Worth it? Absolutely! Maybe a trek to get to but you could find perfection and memories to last a lifetime. 


best waves in the world

Photo  WSL


best waves in the world

Photo  Zak Noyle

The epicenter of it all! North Shore Hawaii. Barrels, barrels, barrels. Pipe, has seen it all over the years but can potentially offer the ride of your life if you can position yourself amongst the masses. Don’t forget Backdoor.  Not for the inexperienced.


Pohnpei, Micronesia – Palikir Pass. A world class right hander that works best on a North swell and light offshore trades. User-friendly when small, however when it picks up, expect hollow down the line reef barrels. 


World class lefthander in Fiji. The break sits about a mile south Tavarua with the reef covering a huge playing field. Fast, sharp and critical, that will keep even the most experienced surfers on their toes. When all the elements come together, truly a sight to be seen- even if you don’t surf!


Gold Coast, Queensland Australia- Maybe inconsistent and man-made influences (sand pumping) are controversial and have affected Kirra. But when this place comes together look for one of the longest, funnest waves with multiple barrel sections. Also some crowds.


15 best waves in the world

Photo  Greg Ewing

Namibia, Skeleton Coast. The longest barreling left in the world. Period. You’ve all the seen the videos, this sand bottomed wave is like a machine. Isolated, and may only turn on a couple times during Southern Hemis (May- Septemeber) 



Mentawai Islands-(Hollow Trees) Consistent world-class right-hand coral reef break that offers tube riding perfection. 15 of the best waves in the world list can’t be without this dream wave! Discovered by Aussie Lance Knight in the early 90’s. A must for any surfers bucket list.


New Zealand – As seen in The Endless Summer, with three separate sections Indicator, Whale Bay, and Manu Bay.  Said to offer one the longest rideable waves in the world. Get ready for some serious leg burn. 


Maui, Hawaii – World class outer island right-hander that creates a stunning hollow bowl that can be viewed from the cliff above like an amphitheater. Beautiful warm clear water make it a dream for surfers near and far, especially when enough swell filters past Molokai to make it work


Tahiti-  A freak wave, truly pushing the limits of skill (like Pipe). Heavy with sheer power and shallow reef make it an expert only location. This wave throws more out than up. It’s all about the drop in here, then setting your line and aiming for the exit.  

15 of the best waves in the world

Photo  Tom Servais



Oaxaca, Mexico- Barra de la Cruz. World Class Right-hand Pointbreak exposed by Rip Curls Search contest in 2006. Has the potential to be fickle depending on the sand formation from the river at the top of the point, but can turn on with open dredging tubes during a good South Swell.  


Grajagan Bay, East Java, Indonesia – So much history and allure surrounding the long barreling waves and jungle at G-Land. One of the most consistently rideable waves, rarely dropping under head high. Kongs, Moneytrees, and Speedies sections divide the huge reef. A must surf!



15 of the best waves in the world

Photo  Roke

Spain – Europes best wave and possibly the best rivermouth break in the world? Clean hollow tubes that can run for 100- 200 meters. The port and fishing village is charming with history and friendly locals.


North Sumatra, Lagundri Bay – A perfect righthander seemingly on the edge of the world. Open tubes will possibly give you the ride of your life. Some believe the 2005 earthquake/tsunami actually improved the break, by lifting the reef – creating longer and hollower waves.


15 best waves in the world

Photo  Matt Clark

Lombok, Indonesia -It needs a large groundswell to work and can be fickle and tide dependant… but when it’s on get ready for long freight training left-hand barrels. Quite a distance to get to but could be epic and unforgettable.

So there you have it,  15 of the best waves in the world! If you have the means and are lucky to surf some of these breaks, good on you! It’s a surfers fantasy to travel and find perfect waves and hopefully, uncrowded, but sometimes one or two waves of good caliber like these will keep you happy a lifetime. 

This post best viewed on a Computer. Slider photo by Aaron Chang