6. Desert Point (Lombok, Indonesia)

This beautiful lefthander peels over very shallow coral somewhere off the dusty island of Lombok. The wave is less dangerous than the hazards of extreme boredom during flat spells (there’s nothing on land but a few run-down losemans), overcrowding, contracting malaria, and the fact that medical access is hours away.

7. The Cave (Ericeira, Portugal)

With all the ingredients that a dangerous wave should have, including a shallow reef, urchins, and hot-tempered locals, it’s not surprising The Cave has been described as Europe’s heaviest wave. It was once the preserve of Portugal’s bodyboarding set, but pros like Tiago Pires have been taking it on in recent years — and surviving.

8. Lunada Bay (California, USA)

Perhaps one of the best righthanders in California, Lunada is a great performance wave at six feet but it also handles swell right up to 20 feet. It’s not an overly dangerous wave in itself, but the locals are another matter.

Visiting surfers have reported slashed tyres, rocks thrown, fist fights, and a seemingly disinterested local police force. You’re on your own here.

9. El Gringo (Arica, Chile)

Chile has a bunch of waves equally as heavy and urchin-infested as this one, but El Gringo is included in this list because of the damage it did to the pro surfers who surfed it in 2007’s WCT event. There were numerous broken boards, embedded urchin spines, and slashed heads. And they surf for a living. Imagine what it’d do to you?

10. Tarqua (Lagos, Nigeria)

The good news is that this beach break located at the entrance to the Lagoon of Iddo in Lagos is often a fun, wedging peak. The bad news is the 60 million litres of raw sewage and tonnes of industrial waste produced by the 8 million inhabitants of Lagos every year that flows out into the ocean. Other hazards include floating carcasses, rubbish, and the occasional mugging on the beach.

Community Connection

Looking for waves for mere mortals? Read about searching for surf in Vietnam with Rhys Stacker’s China Beach and Beyond.

And for an all around great surf story and guide to Central America, check out Spencer Klein’s classic Another End of the Road.