The Planet’s 5 Scariest Waves, According to Kai Lenny

Allan I. Fleming

When Kai Lenny tells you a wave is frightening, you greatest consider it. The Maui native has committed his lifetime to chasing waves, and he thrives in practically every high-general performance drinking water sport beneath the sunshine. At 28, Lenny holds the 2019-’20 WSL Major Wave Award for men’s greatest general general performance, the 2020 XXL Most important Wave Award for his 70-foot ride at Nazaré, and is the youngest particular person at any time to have been inducted into the Surfers’ Corridor of Fame. Despite the fact that Lenny still has a good deal of discovering to do, he’s ridden his fare share of large waves and has the stories and accolades to confirm it. Below are the five scariest waves in the environment, according to Kai Lenny.


Pillar Point Harbor, California

Found just north of 50 percent Moon Bay, Mavericks is a deep-drinking water wave that gives some of the greatest and most significant surf in California. The location typically lights up amongst November and March and works greatest on a west to west-northwest swell when the wind is mild and the measurement is upwards of 20 ft. Owing to the one of a kind rock contours on the ocean flooring, Mavericks can be a finicky wave and has been known to variety in measurement wherever from 20 ft to more than 50 ft. The wave can be hard even for the most seasoned huge-wave surfers and claimed the life of Hawaiian Mark Foo in 1994 and Sion Milosky in 2011.

“Mavericks is an extremely frightening, tremendous tall, cold wave,” says Lenny. “What helps make it so gnarly is how all the drinking water converges into one particular spot—it’s most likely the loudest huge wave on the earth mainly because that cold drinking water is a tiny extra dense. When you listen to the lip hit the drinking water it nearly seems like thunder cracking.”



Nazaré, Portugal

What was when a quiet fishing village has become regarded as dwelling to one particular of the most significant, scariest waves in the environment. Found in front of the lighthouse in North Seashore, Nazaré is a seaside break that can create waves up to 100 ft in measurement and typically works greatest from October to March through a northwest or west swell. In 2018, Brazilian surfer Rodrigo Koxa claimed the Guinness Entire world Document at the fabled location by driving an 80-foot wave. Very last year, fellow Brazilian Maya Gabeira notched a 73.5 footer there to declare the biggest wave at any time surfed by a woman (not to mention the most significant wave surfed by anybody in 2020).

“It’s most likely the tallest wave on earth Earth and it breaks everywhere,” says Lenny. “It’s terrifying mainly because you can ride a wave correctly, kick out, and there can be the most significant wave you’ve at any time observed in your lifetime breaking in front of you. If your jet ski driver’s not there to choose you up, you’re heading to get absolutely ruined.”


Teahup’o, Tahiti

Not like other huge-wave surf spots, Teahupo’o is known not for its peak but alternatively for its thickness and energy. The South Pacific gem breaks more than a razor-sharp reef, giving long, hollow waves and fantastic barrels. The location produces the greatest waves through the dry season, from May to August, and typically works greatest on a south to southwest swell, with south-southwest becoming the most excellent. In 2000, Tahitian surfer Brice Taerea lost his lifetime at the location, when a wave threw him versus the reef.

“The wave by itself doesn’t get tremendous tall but it gets extremely thick and it’s fairly much the closest detail to rideable tsunami,” says Lenny. “It’s a surge that will come more than the reef and you’re essentially surfing a wave that is thirty ft thick, thirty ft tall, and is more than 6 ft of the sharpest reef you’ve at any time observed.”


Tavarua, Fiji

Cloudbreak Fiji Namotu Island big wave surfing
Beau Blake


Regularly rated as one particular of the major 10 greatest and most hard waves in the environment, Cloudbreak is situated on a sheltered reef, just a number of miles away from Tavarua Island. The location is a left reef break and while the waves typically max out at 20 ft, they are fast and the reef is shallow and sharp. Fiji produces surfable waves year round, but Cloudbreak yields the greatest ailments through a south or southwest swell.

“Cloudbreak is most likely the most fantastic, barreling long huge wave that I’ve at any time surfed,” says Lenny. “It’s also extremely impressive and breaks along a seriously shallow reef. I’ve observed it so huge that it’s ripped chunks of the reef out and it smells like dead fish.”



Paia, Maui

Located on the north shore of Maui, Jaws aka Pe’ahi, is regarded by many as the greatest and most surfable huge waves on the earth. Ranging in measurement from 20 to 80 ft, the wave is reliable and functional, earning it nicely suited for each paddle- and tow-in surfing. The environment-renowned location works greatest through the winter months, with December typically becoming the most excellent, through a north-northwest swell.

 “Jaws is one particular of the greatest huge waves on the earth mainly because it’s not only the tallest and one particular of the thickest, but it’s also fantastic in the perception that you can paddle into the most significant wave of your lifetime and then you can do nearly any sport from tow-in surfing to windsurfing to foiling,” says Lenny. “It’s also most likely the most brutal wipeout—it’s violent and it holds you down the longest.”

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