When Kai Lenny tells you a wave is frightening, you greatest imagine it. The Maui native has dedicated his life to chasing waves, and he thrives in practically each high-performance water sport below the solar. At 28, Lenny holds the 2019-’20 WSL Large Wave Award for males’s greatest total efficiency, the 2020 XXL Greatest Wave Award for his 70-foot ride at Nazaré, and is the youngest particular person ever to have been inducted into the Surfers’ Corridor of Fame. Though Lenny nonetheless has a variety of exploring to do, he’s ridden his fare share of heavy waves and has the tales and accolades to show it. Listed below are the 5 scariest waves on this planet, in response to Kai Lenny.


Pillar Level Harbor, California

Situated simply north of Half Moon Bay, Mavericks is a deep-water wave that gives among the greatest and largest surf in California. The spot usually lights up between November and March and works greatest on a west to west-northwest swell when the wind is gentle and the scale is upwards of 20 ft. As a result of distinctive rock contours on the ocean flooring, Mavericks generally is a finicky wave and has been recognized to vary in measurement wherever from 20 ft to over 50 ft. The wave will be difficult even for probably the most seasoned big-wave surfers and claimed the lives of Hawaiian Mark Foo in 1994 and Sion Milosky in 2011.

“Mavericks is a particularly scary, tremendous tall, chilly wave,” says Lenny. “What makes it so gnarly is how all of the water converges into one spot—it’s in all probability the loudest large wave on the planet as a result of that chilly water is a bit more dense. While you hear the lip hit the water it nearly feels like thunder cracking.”



Nazaré, Portugal

What was as soon as a quiet fishing village has grow to be considered dwelling to one of many greatest, scariest waves on this planet. Situated in entrance of the lighthouse in North Seashore, Nazaré is a seaside break that may produce waves as much as 100 ft in measurement and usually works greatest from October to March throughout a northwest or west swell. In 2018, Brazilian surfer Rodrigo Koxa claimed the Guinness World File on the fabled spot by driving an 80-foot wave. Final yr, fellow Brazilian Maya Gabeira notched a 73.5 footer there to assert the greatest wave ever surfed by a feminine (to not point out the largest wave surfed by anybody in 2020).

“It’s in all probability the tallest wave on planet Earth and it breaks in all places,” says Lenny. “It’s terrifying as a result of you may experience a wave completely, kick out, and there will be the largest wave you’ve ever seen in your life breaking in entrance of you. In case your jet ski driver’s not there to choose you up, you’re going to get completely destroyed.”


Teahup’o, Tahiti

In contrast to different big-wave surf spots, Teahupo’o is thought not for its top however quite for its thickness and energy. The South Pacific gem breaks over a razor-sharp reef, providing lengthy, hole waves and excellent barrels. The spot produces the very best waves through the dry season, from Might to August, and usually works greatest on a south to southwest swell, with south-southwest being probably the most best. In 2000, Tahitian surfer Brice Taerea misplaced his life on the spot, when a wave threw him towards the reef.

“The wave itself doesn’t get tremendous tall however it will get extraordinarily thick and it’s just about the closest factor to rideable tsunami,” says Lenny. “It’s a surge that comes over the reef and also you’re mainly browsing a wave that’s 30 ft thick, 30 ft tall, and is over six ft of the sharpest reef you’ve ever seen.”


Tavarua, Fiji

Cloudbreak Fiji Namotu Island big wave surfing
Beau Blake


Constantly ranked as one of many high 10 greatest and most difficult waves on this planet, Cloudbreak is located on a sheltered reef, just some miles away from Tavarua Island. The spot is a left reef break and though the waves usually max out at 20 ft, they’re quick and the reef is shallow and sharp. Fiji produces surfable waves yr spherical, however Cloudbreak yields the very best situations throughout a south or southwest swell.

“Cloudbreak might be probably the most excellent, barreling lengthy large wave that I’ve ever surfed,” says Lenny. “It’s additionally extraordinarily highly effective and breaks alongside a extremely shallow reef. I’ve seen it so large that it’s ripped chunks of the reef out and it smells like lifeless fish.”



Paia, Maui

Located on the north shore of Maui, Jaws aka Pe’ahi, is regarded by many as the very best and most surfable large waves on the planet. Ranging in measurement from 20 to 80 ft, the wave is constant and versatile, making it properly fitted to each paddle- and tow-in browsing. The world-renowned spot works greatest through the winter months, with December usually being probably the most best, throughout a north-northwest swell.

 “Jaws is likely one of the greatest large waves on the planet as a result of it’s not solely the tallest and one of many thickest, however it’s additionally excellent within the sense that you would be able to paddle into the largest wave of your life after which you are able to do nearly any sport from tow-in browsing to windsurfing to foiling,” says Lenny. “It’s additionally in all probability probably the most brutal wipeout—it’s violent and it holds you down the longest.”

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