We’ve teamed up with Jeep, who are celebrating their 75th anniversary this year, to shine a spotlight on some of the ultimate renegades from the world of action sports – past, present and future. Female big wave surfing is an unusual pastime to say the least, and the women who do it are all renegades to varying degrees. They’re out there breaking new ground, and going where few others will, or even can. Their stories make for fascinating reading.
Forget the golden beaches and blue skies of Baywatch for a moment – surfing is a sport for the tough. For people with not just physical grit, but the mental strength to paddle out at six in the morning and wait for a wave that may never come. Balancing on a board, being pounded by breaking waves or held underwater for what seems like an eternity… any kind of surfing takes some serious steel.
But there are is still a handful of people for whom even this isn’t enough. People who want to push the boundaries of what’s possible. Big wave surfers, who want to ride the kind of swell that gives mere mortals nightmares.
Mostly, this is an overwhelmingly macho world, but amongst the few people who are brave enough to do battle with these thunderous slabs of ocean there stands a select group of women. Perhaps all the more remarkable because there are so few of them, these women are true pioneers, pushing the sport forward in an area where the risks far outweigh the meagre financial rewards.
History whispers the name of heroines who have taken on and beaten big waves in years gone by. But it’s only with the arrival of the internet that the world has really seen female big wave surfing in all its terrifying glory. Which is why all the incredible women on this list hail from the modern era. These are five of the best big wave surfers in the world today.