Unsurprisingly, Australia hosts several spots on the list. Great white sharks flock to The Right wave, and Cyclops breaks in shallow water, prompting surfer Koby Abberton to call it a "sick joke." The Cape Fear big wave contest hits the break known as Ours at Cape Solander on the southern side of Botany Bay. Surfing Magazine's Michael Ciaramella called the 2016 event "the scariest surf feed I've ever seen." And given what else he's witnessed, that's saying something.
Then there's towering Dungeons in Cape Town, which starts to break at 40 feet. The Wedge in Newport Harbor, California, has killed a bunch of people. So has Mavericks in Half Moon Bay, claiming well-known big-wave surfers Mark Foo in 1994 and Sion Milosky in 2011.
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The Encyclopedia of Surfing entry on death and surfing has additional sobering details like how most deaths happen after the surfer gets knocked unconscious, either by hitting a board or the ocean floor. A small percentage die in shark attacks. And the bigger the surf, the higher the likelihood of drowning.
While you ponder that, here's a taste of big wave surfing in perfect conditions at the ocean breaks Dungeons and Sunset in Cape Town. Even though the surfers look like ants getting sprayed by a hose in slow motion, I can see why they keep tempting fate. Watch the video above.
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