Top 7 Worst Wipeouts Ever 

Check out some of the worst wipeouts that will leave you breathless. Call’em daredevils if you want to, but there is no stopping these madmen from putting their lives in jeopardy. It’s like the Surf Gods have their back every time.

Surfing is a sport that calls for guts, mad skills, and total respect for the mighty ocean. Taming those beastly waves is no laughing matter. It’s all about years of honing your craft, putting in time, and dialing in those moves. Yet, even the raddest of surf champs can find themselves on the wrong side of Mother Nature, getting a reminder of her true power.

In these videos, you will find some of the most amazing surfers battling out against big waves that nearly killed them. Shockingly, even after facing the worst wipeouts of their lives, these guys are back in the game, more determined than ever charging against bigger swells.

1. Andrew Cotton- Nazare, Portugal (2017-2018)

Andrew Cotton, the notorious big wave charger from the UK took a brutal wipeout that led to a broken back which caused him to remain sidelined for 6 months. Even with all his skills and expertise in place, the Nazare beast bounced him off sky-high and slammed him hard back underwater, where he was caught by another sick wave. 

Even the speedy rescue attempt failed when his buddy Hugo Vau tried to save the day. Both guys got rag-dolled for many seconds as a result of the exploding wave. You can see Hugo Vau’s jetski going in a different direction while these folks swim their way back to the shore after nearly witnessing the angel of death.

Andrew even got the WSL's Biggest Wipeout of the Year award. He showed his determination by saying:

| After being out for six months, my goal is to be back out there in the summer or by October to really start charging again |

2. Rafael Tapia - Nazaré, Portugal (2016)

Don’t go on his goofy looks, Rafael Tapia is one talented surfer. Guess, lady luck was on his side, that’s why he managed to survive a deadly wipeout after being towed in Nazare’s gigantic wave. Talk about a massive joyride being turned into a full-on hell ride. He tried to outrun the beast but failed and smashed himself hard against the water and got swallowed by the big wave. He was also a nominee for the WSL Wipeout of the Year award.

3. Niccolo Porcella -Teahupoo, Tahiti (2015)

Niccolo Porcella the Hawaiian Surfer, went through one of the gnarliest wipeouts ever seen in the surfing world. He was unable to catch speed and got tossed off his board, but that was just the start of his wild ride. This massive wave took him for a brutal spin, smashing him against the unforgiving reef multiple times.

He was left in the water for what felt like an eternity, only to be hit by another huge wave that dragged him back to the reef. Thankfully, after battling these insane forces of nature, the champ came out of it with no major injuries. However, his wetsuit and life vest were shredded. Judging by the whole scene, it was seriously intense getting wiped out by such a heavy wave. In one of his interviews, he said:

|The best day of my life was marrying my wife, but this, for sure, was second best..|

4. Jay Moriarity’s Iron Cross- Mavericks (1994)

Jay Moriarity, a 16-year wild surfer, decided to test out his skills against one of the most challenging waves at Mavericks. Even with all his expertise and bravery, it didn't turn out to be a lucky day for him. Imagine being dropped from 35 feet from the top…Ouch!

He really took a monstrous blow and got pounded right on the water’s surface. He kicked into high gear, paddling like crazy to catch some air, but out of nowhere, another massive wave came crashing down on him. But this teen, full of energy and spirit, didn’t let it break him. He fought his way through the chaos, eventually making it back to the safety of the white waters. The epic wipeout didn't dent his determination one bit as he said:

That’s one of the most important things in life, is just… really appreciating it because, you know, we only get to do this once and it’s not for a long time — so enjoy it.”

5. Irons at Pipeline- North Shore, Oahu (1998)

Andy Irons is a big name in the surfing world. While surfing at Pipeline, the champ faced a fierce wipeout. He tried to bail out but got caught by the big and powerful wave and ended up in a spin cycle. The wave hit him hard on the water. He managed to survive but his board broke into pieces. Andy admitted that it was the worst wipeout of his life.

Philip Andrew Irons was a pro surfer and won dozens of titles including 3 world titles. His journey as a surfer was a remarkable one. He never ceased to surprise the crowd with his skills and bravery. He was honored with the Surfing Walk of Fame in 2008, and Hawaii still celebrates “Andy Irons Day '' on February 13th, in his honor. The legend died on Nov 2, 2010.

6. Wilem Banks (2018), Mavericks

Mavericks is known for its heavy and powerful waves that break at Pillar Point. It takes years of dedication to master this huge wave and a single slip can easily land you in the hospital. On Jan 26, 2017, Wilem Banks tried to ride this freaky wave but totally lost control of his board and got towed by the wave which smashed him into the water.

Wilem Banks is a great and down-to-earth surfer. Despite all the fame, he enjoys his simple life as a carpenter nowadays.

7. Tom Dosland - Jaws, Hawaii (2016)

Tom Dosland, a pro surfer from Maui, experienced a painful wipeout at Jaws. As he paddled towards the wave in hopes of riding this huge beast, his vision got blurred due to the winds, and lost control.

From the looks of the video, it felt as if he jumped from the top of a building and suffered a massive beating. But somehow, just at the right moment, he pulled off a miracle move, and got himself back to the surface. It was a heavy wipeout but the dude survived without any injuries and surfed the next day riding some awesome waves.


When it comes to riding gnarly waves, there’s no denying that wipeouts can be, well, gnarly themselves. The surfers you’ve seen in this article had some wild encounters with Mother Nature’s fury. Whether they were getting knocked around by monstrous waves in Nazare or taking a tumble at Pipeline, their stories show us what it takes to ride the ocean’s rollercoaster.

So, next time, you’re out catching waves or just watching from the shore, remember these surfers’ stories- they’re all about getting back up on that board and riding the waves, no matter how wild the wipeout.

James Davis

Written by James Davis

I'm a true California local, and I've spent my life riding the waves along our stunning coastline. Surfing has always been my greatest love, and in my writing, I try to capture its genuine essence. My words aim to transport you into the heart of the surf culture, where the ocean and surfers come together in perfect harmony.

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