Surfer in the ocean riding a wave. There is nobody else in the water, and the sun is setting in the distance.

Greatest Surfers of All Time

Surfing is certainly one of the most popular sports in the world.

Surfing is certainly one of the most popular sports in the world. This sport brings both excitement and thrill to those who are into it. Some surfers are professionals that compete in surfing championships, while others simply enjoy the art of riding waves.

Who are the greatest surfers of all time? How did they become the ultimate surfer? While it's a hard question to answer, we can take a look at the surfing world, and pick individuals who have had outstanding careers. So with that being said, here are the top surfers of all time.

Surfer riding a wave in the ocean. The sky is pink because the sun is setting in the distance.

Top Surfers Of All Time

Kelly Slater

Kelly Slater is undoubtedly one of the all-time greats in the world of surfing, so it only makes sense to start off this list with him. Even those who aren’t very familiar with surfing have probably heard of Slater.

He was born in Florida and won his first surfing competition at age 11. He was already a professional surfer by the time he was 15 years old, and by 18 he had won his first surfing world title.

In 1992, Kelly Slater became the youngest person ever inducted into the Surfing Hall of Fame at age 23. In 1996, he became the youngest ever inducted into the International Surfing Hall of Fame at 27 years old.

Slater has competed in over a thousand pro-level competitions, won 10 world titles and been crowned ASP World Tour Champion 12 times overall.

He is a three-time world champion, and has won over 70 professional competitions. He's also one of the only people ever to win all three surfing titles: ASP World Tour Champion, Triple Crown of Surfing, and Pipeline Masters.

Slater's dominance during this period was so complete that people began calling him "The King" because no one could beat him. In 2003, he lost twice before retiring from competition for seven years. But when he came back he was still amazing. Slater won five more titles during his second stint on tour before finally bowing out for good after winning his 11th world title at age 38.

Mark Richards

A three-time world champion, he is a legend in his field. This is why Mark Richards is such a fascinating and gifted figure in the history of surfing. In the water, Richards does things his own way.

The Australian icon is the first surfer in history to successfully execute a bottom turn on a high-performance wave.

The nimble, fluid, and inventive wave rider might all of a sudden become a ferocious power surfer. Mark Richards left behind an unparalleled legacy. He was even dubbed "the complete surfer." Richards is a significant part of Australian surfing history and culture.

Additionally, he is the first surfer in history to win four consecutive world titles, making him a pioneer in the sport and a leading figure in what has been called the "Free Ride Generation."

Bethany Hamilton

At the age of 13, surfing prodigy Bethany Hamilton had already made headlines. She was amazing on a surfboard and would do anything to win. However, on October 31, 2003, while surfing off the coast of Hawaii, Bethany Hamilton experienced a devastating setback.

Bethany Hamilton was relaxing on her board when a 14-foot tiger shark grabbed hold of her left arm. She managed to get away, but not without losing her left arm.

She started surfing competitively and earning awards and sponsorships in 2007, fulfilling a lifelong passion. Soul Surfer, a movie based on Bethany Hamilton's 2004 best-selling autobiography, was released in 2011. She is an inspiration to many in the surfing world.

Surfer riding a small wave in the ocean. The surfboard is white and there are clouds in the sky in the background.

Layne Beachley

Layne Beachley is an amazing competition surfer from Australia. Her resume of accomplishments and honors is long and distinguished. She has an amazing list of awards and recognitions.

She won her first six world titles in a row. She was also extraordinarily friendly, outgoing, and positive.

For a long time, Beachley was considered the most powerful woman in surfing, and she is widely acknowledged as one of the sport's greatest female large wave riders.

She has claimed in the past that she is a "competitive beast." Despite a troubled upbringing, Layne Beachley eventually became a national treasure as a world-class surfer.

Duke Kahanamoku

Many people consider Duke Kahanamoku to be the person who first popularized modern surfing. The "Big Kahuna" is widely regarded as the greatest surfer of all time, making him the epitome of the stereotypical surfer dude.

Not only did he help popularize surfing on his home island of Hawaii, but he also helped spread the sport to the coasts of Australia and California.

Kahanamoku was a kind man, a humble Hawaiian who took great pride in his heritage and who was always eager to advocate for Hawaii as a tourist destination.

He's often cited as the state of Hawaii's most beloved representative of the Aloha spirit. He was known as an exotic star of the Pacific who could swim and walk on water like no one else.

Tom Curren

World Champion in three different decades (1985, 1986, 1990) and the first American to win a men's world championship was Tom Curren.

From 1982 through 1992, he held the record for the most career victories until Kelly Slater came along and broke it with 33. Additionally, in 1983, 1984, and 1988, Curren was crowned Op Pro Champion.

He learned to surf at age six on a trip to Hawaii with his family, following in his father Pat Curren's footsteps. Many surfers attribute much of their own skills to having studied countless hours of Curren's films.

Besides hanging around with his four kids, Curren enjoys playing guitar and listening to music. He's been experimenting with new surfboard designs and forms lately. Although he is most at home in the Santa Barbara surf, Curren still travels the globe in search of the best waves.

Laird Hamilton

The name Laird Hamilton is synonymous with greatness in the world of surfing. He's the most decorated surfer in history, having won a total of six world titles and three X-Games gold medals.

He was born in California and began surfing at age 3. He became an Olympic hopeful at age 16, but he ended up making his first impact on the sport when he won his first world title at age 17.

Hamilton is known for pushing the boundaries of what's possible in the water, whether it's riding waves that are 30 feet high or swimming through 30-foot-deep channels between two islands. He holds multiple Guinness World Records for these feats, including one for being able to remain underwater for over 18 minutes at a time.

Shane Dorian

Shane Dorian is one of his generation's best surfers and paddle-in large wave riders. Here is how the athlete from Hawaii became an all-around waterman.

At the young age of three, Shane's parents launched "Dorian's," a beachfront eatery. As a result, he found solace in the ocean. Dorian learned to boogie board on the Big Island, alongside Mike Stewart, a future bodyboarding and body surfing champion.

When he turned five, his father presented him with his first surfboard. He then abandoned the bodyboard in favor of his new board. Shane won his first contest in 1983 at age 11.

Over the next two years, he placed in the top three at the NSSA Championships in the menehune division. Dorian took first place in the 1985 Hawaiian state tournament.

During his teenage years, he divided his recreational time, surf training, and schooling between the North Shore of Oahu (winter season) and Hawaii's Big Island. Shane first traveled abroad to England at the age of 12 to represent Hawaii in the World Amateur Championships.

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