For all the surfers and even those who haven’t surfed before, guess what. It’s time to ride the waves to the 25 best women surfers of all time.
Surfing is by far one of the hardest sports out there. Not only is there an immense amount of balance and stability required once you’re even able to get up, but you’re also out in nature waiting for some gnarly waves, which are unpredictable.
My lovely wife and I took surfing lessons in southern California (of course, with wifey being an LA woman) and I have so much more respect for the sport after getting out in the Pacific Ocean, waiting for those waves, quickly paddling the board around, then utilizing the position and balance technique our instructor taught us to…ride those waves.
Our instructor knew Jon Foreman’s (lead singer of Switchfoot) father. You know, that band that’s all about family, has been all about social justice and singing about relevant, important real life issues, about faith, and about…surf.
Not only is surfing an intense sport, it’s also therapeutic. Being out in nature, in God’s creation, literally soaking in the rays, the waves, and all the while getting some cardio in. It’s incredible.
If you haven’t gone surfing, I highly recommend heading to a coast near you and trying it out. You’ll most likely enjoy it. You’re welcome.
And for these top surfers in the sport, you already know they most likely enjoy the sport to continue to work on their craft day-in and day-out to become the best in the sport out of both men and women’s surfing.
Ladies and gentlemen, it looks like the tide is right, here are the:
25 Best Women Surfers
Thanks to World Surf League, who listed out “Multiple World Champion Winners” and the current rankings on the “2021 Women’s Championship Tour”. These were both super helpful in compiling the list below and the stats and championships are according to World Surf League.
25 – Nikki Van Dijk
With 15,185 points so far this year, the Aussie surfer “is one of the biggest hidden threats on the women’s Championship Tour” per World Surf League.
24 – Brisa Hennessy
The Costa Rican surfer currently has 13,050 points and also competed at the Tokyo Olympics for her country (per her Instagram bio) as surfing made its debut in the Olympics debut in Tokyo.
23 – Sage Erickson
With 15,185 points so far, the American “won two QS events (in 2019) and stormed her way on to the CT for 2020” per the World Surf League.
22 – Amuro Tsuzuki
The Japanese surfer has 11,010 points so far this year. Tuszuki took home the bronze as she won an Olympic medal in her home country of Japan this year at the Tokyo Olympics (per her Instagram bio).
21 – Macy Callaghan
The Australian has 13,050 points so far. According to the World Surf League, “(s)he won her first event as a 10-year-old riding her dad’s board, got hooked on competition, ditched all the other sports she was playing and dedicated herself to surfing.”
20 – Keely Andrew
The Aussie surfer currently has 18,660 points. According to the World Surf League, “(h)er story is very similar to several of her peers on the Championship Tour. Sally Fitzgibbons, Courtney Conlogue, and Lakey Peterson all excelled as multi-sport athletes, and it’s safe to say Keely shares their same brand of gritty drive and determination, and she’s blending it with her surfing style that’s polished and precise.”
19 – Bronte Macaulay
A theme you’ll see on this list: a lot of Australians. This Aussie is no exception as she is tied with her fellow countrywoman, Keely Andrew, with 18,660 points.
18 – Malia Manuel
The Hawaiian-American has 22,510 points so far this year. Per the World Surf League, she “burst onto the pro surfing scene as a 14-year-old prodigy in 2008, when she became the youngest surfer to ever win the US Open of Surfing”.
17 – Courtney Conlogue
The American has 22,930 points so far this year. Per the World Surf League, “(s)he won the first contest she ever entered when she was ten, which kick-started a rapid rise through the amateur ranks.”
16 – Isabella Nichols
The Aussie has 24,645 currently and her “style has been compared to a mix of Carissa Moore and Stephanie Gilmore…(and) was seen as one of surfing’s great new talents destined to make the CT” per the World Surf League.
15 – Caroline Marks
The American is tied with Aussie Tyler Wright at 26,050 so far this season. According to the World Surf League, “Marks was the youngest surfer ever to qualify for the women’s Championship Tour and qualified to represent the USA at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games”.
14 – Johanne Defay
The Frenchwoman is tied with Aussie Stephanie Gilmore with 32,035 points. “Since joining the elite ranks in 2014 she’s been a leading crusader in the push for more progressive surfing” via the World Surf League.
13 – Tatiana Weston-Webb
The Brazilian has 34,715 points so far, currently second in the championship tour rankings. According to the World Surf League, “(s)he’s been an intimidating force on the women’s Championship Tour since her full-time arrival in 2015 and qualified to represent Brazil at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games.
12 – Tyler Wright
Now we’re starting to get to the part of the list where there’s “(m)ultiple (w)orld (c)hampion (w)inners” per the World Surf League and Australian Tyler Wright’s got two of ’em.
11 – Sally Fitzgibbons
The Australian has 33,000 points so far. That’s good for third in the championship tour rankings. She also competed in the Olympics for her country (per her Instagram post).
10 – Jennifer Smith
Smith also has two career world championships. According to Surf with Amigas’ HollyBeck27, Smith is “from San Diego, and a two-time winner of the World Longboard Championships, so she obviously knows how to surf. She’s also…a chef, passionate organic gardener, surf instructor and shop employee at her dad’s skate shop.”
9 – Lynne Boyer
The Hawaiian’s got two world tour titles to her name and is also reportedly a painter and you can buy one of her paintings according to this @Pictureography tweet.
8 – Carissa Moore
The Hawaiian has three world tour titles to her name and currently ranks first on that women’s championship tour list this year with 37,770 points.
7 – Margo Oberg
Count ’em. The Hawaiian has three world tour titles to her name.
6 – Frieda Zamba
Moving on this list from three to now four world tour titles, that’s exactly how many American Frieda Zamba has. Now, she’s a “professional surf coach” per her Instagram bio.
5 – Wendy Botha
The South African and Aussie has four world tour titles.
4 – Lisa Andersen
The American surfer also has four world tour titles. Roxy Taiwan states she is “a pioneer who trail-blazed a path for today’s generation of professional women surfers”.
3 – Stephanie Gilmore
You’ve seen her name mentioned previously on this list. Gilmore is not only one of the best women surfers but one of the best surfers (both men’s and women’s surfing) of all time. She has seven world tour titles. That’s Tom Brady-esque…dominating in her sport.
2 – Layne Beachley
What a fitting name for a surfer. Layne Beachley. Because on beaches worldwide, Layne would. do her thing, also winning seven world tour world titles and becoming one of the best surfers to ever ride the waves.
1 – Bethany Hamilton
When there’s a major motion picture made about you for your story of overcoming adversity after being attacked by a shark then making a comeback and surfing professionally, becoming someone to inspire not only young female surfers but people from all over, you gotta be considered the best woman surfer.
“Even when I was attacked by a shark at 13 and lost my arm I’ve been stable in my mind and beliefs,” Hamilton said per her website. “Despite the challenges life has thrown at me I’ve done so much more in my life than I ever could have imagined – From outscoring some of the world’s best female surfers, to having movies like Soul Surfer made about me, and going around the world to talk to thousands of amazing people. Today I’m a wife, mom of three beautiful healthy boys, and this truth is still the same. God loves me, and being a professional surfer is my calling.”
“The strength, identity and foundation of my life is in the faith that God has given me. With God I am unstoppable!…No, I’m not perfect. And Yes, I have crazy hard days and times in my life, but I’m rooted in my faith and the truths of God. This is how I know that whatever huge life waves or gnarly challenges come my way, the Lord is with me and on my side. Because of Him, I am Unstoppable. God wants this for you too! I know I was born to surf, but I also believe I am here to encourage YOU and help lead you to God and the life you were designed to live.”Bethany Hamilton via her website
Charlie Lapastora is a sports/news multimedia journalist who’s reported, written, produced, anchored, shot video/edited on different NBC, ABC, and FOX shows in multiple TV markets, along with digital & new media companies. Charlie has traveled the country telling national sports, news, feature, and original stories on a cable news network, airing on top 10 TV markets, satellite radio, and digital platforms. He is passionate about his faith, family—being a husband to whom he calls the G.O.A.T. of women—about reppin’ his home state of Michigan and Detroit teams (yes, including the Lions), good coffee, and loves how sports brings people together. He’s traveled the world leading and coaching sports camps and has also worked at the Detroit Pistons and LA Clippers’ NBA teams.
- 1 25 Best Women Surfers
- 2 25 – Nikki Van Dijk
- 3 24 – Brisa Hennessy
- 4 23 – Sage Erickson
- 5 22 – Amuro Tsuzuki
- 6 21 – Macy Callaghan
- 7 20 – Keely Andrew
- 8 19 – Bronte Macaulay
- 9 18 – Malia Manuel
- 10 17 – Courtney Conlogue
- 11 16 – Isabella Nichols
- 12 15 – Caroline Marks
- 13 14 – Johanne Defay
- 14 13 – Tatiana Weston-Webb
- 15 12 – Tyler Wright
- 16 11 – Sally Fitzgibbons
- 17 10 – Jennifer Smith
- 18 9 – Lynne Boyer
- 19 8 – Carissa Moore
- 20 7 – Margo Oberg
- 21 6 – Frieda Zamba
- 22 5 – Wendy Botha
- 23 4 – Lisa Andersen
- 24 3 – Stephanie Gilmore
- 25 2 – Layne Beachley
- 26 1 – Bethany Hamilton
At The Buzzer, or ATB is the place for those who love sports, life, family, community, and so much more. We are far from the run-of-the-mill 24/7 sports news websites. We not only bring you what’s happening in the world of sports in terms of trades and breaking news, but we also bring you the news that goes on behind the scenes, like big life moments, and so much more. So take a minute and read one of our articles, we promise you won't regret it.