The (Worst) Best Surfing Spots For Shark Encounters

The eerie truth is that some of the greatest surfing destinations on the planet also happen to be home to some of the densest shark populations on the planet. Sharks get a bad rap, and we can thank films like Jaws for most of that negative stigma. While it’s true that shark attacks aren’t nearly as prevalent as entertainment channels would have us believe they do happen every single year. It’s no surprise that surfers are among those who have the most frequent encounters with sharks. While the odds of getting nipped are pretty low, it still pays to know your environment. Here are some of the best surfing spots on earth with the highest shark populations.


South Africa

Most surfers aren’t shocked to find a South African location on a list of “sharky” destinations. In fact, there have probably been as many shark documentaries filmed in South Africa as Surfing films. Many popular surfing spots in South Africa have special shark nets sunk offshore, which are designed to keep the animals from swimming inshore where the surfers hang. Umdumbi is NOT one of those locations!  In fact, the town averages at least one fatal shark attack each year.

Honolulu Bay

Maui, Hawaii

Honolulu Bay is home to one of the greatest waves on the planet. It’s also home to a pretty dense population of tiger sharks. Don’t be surprised if you spot one while waiting for a wave. This beach even gets shut down from time to time due to shark sightings. Actual attacks on humans are few and far between here, so for serious surfers who want to catch an epic wave the rewards certainly outweigh the risks.

Monterey Bay


North Central California sees some pretty big water, so it’s pretty popular with surfers. It’s also popular to a wide range of marine life, including seals, otters, and great white sharks.

Sebastian Inlet


Florida sees more shark attacks, annually, than anywhere else in the world, and the Space and Treasure Coasts on the Atlantic are home to most of those attacks. While there are some epic waves to be found here, there are also eight different species of sharks that can be found at any given time.