Surfing Legends

Mark Foo

Mythologized as one of the greatest surfers of all time, partly as a consequence of his tragic death while surfing Maverick’s in December 1994. Foo had travelled to California from his Hawaiian home after being told about the near-perfect surfing conditions in Half Moon Bay. He entered the water with his rivals, Ken Bradshaw, Mike Parsons and Brock Little, and wiped out whilst paddling into a medium sized wave. Spectators thought little of the wipe-out, which had not seemed particularly serious, and diverted their attention to the other surfers, failing to notice that Foo had not come back to the surface. Foo’s body was found an hour later, by which point it was too late to save him.

Mark Foo

Mark Foo

An element of mystery still surrounds his death, as it is unclear why Foo drowned whilst trying to surf a wave significantly smaller than many he had successfully conquered in the past. It is thought that Foo might have hit his head on his board or a rock, which either rendered him unconscious or too disoriented to find his way back to the surface.

Ken Bradshaw

Born in Texas in 1952, Bradshaw has dedicated the majority of his life to surfing. He was one of Mark Foo’s major rivals in the 1970s, 80s and early 90s and has surfed all over the world. He staked his claim as a living surfing legend when he surfed the largest wave ever ridden (with the aid of a tow) at Oahu on Hawaii’s northern shore, in January 1998. The wave had a face no less than 85 feet high.

Eddie Aikau

Born in Hawaii in 1946, Aikau became well-known as a lifeguard in Waimea Bay, saving many who had been overwhelmed by the surf. He was also a renowned big wave surfer, often surfing giant swells in Waimea Bay himself. Aikau died in 1978 when his canoe capsized a few miles off the coast. In order to summon help for his fellow crew members, Aikau insisted on paddling the five miles back to shore on his board. Despite a massive search and rescue mission, his body was never found.

Bethany Hamilton

Born in 1990 and grew up surfing in Hawaii, Hamilton encapsulates the passion for the sport felt by so many surfers. In 2003, at the age of just 13, Bethany was surfing with friends when she was attacked by a 15 foot shark. Despite losing her arm and more than half her blood, she survived and was back in the surf a month after the attack. She has since re-taught herself how to surf despite her disability, and is still determined to become a professional surfer.

Layne Beachley

Generally acknowledged as one of the best female surfers in history. Born in 1972, Beachley has since collected no fewer than seven World Championship Titles.

Mike Parsons

Parsons was a contemporary of Mark Foo’s, and a witness to the tragic accident which killed him. He secured the respect of big wave surfers everywhere when he won the prize for the largest documented wave of the year at Cortes Bank, California in January 2001. The wave in question was 66-feet high and Parsons won $1000 for every foot of it.

Laird Hamilton

Grew up on the North Shore of Hawaii and began learning how to surf when he was only three years old. Hamilton is a renowned tow-surfer. He wowed his contemporaries when a photograph of him surfing at Teahupo’o appeared on the cover of Surfer Magazine in 2000.

Robert Kelly Slater

Robert Kelly Slater

Robert Kelly Slater

Known popularly as Kelly Slater, he was the first surfer to score 20/20 on the ASP World Tour. Slater has won the ASP World Champion title eight times, in addition to a number of other competitions.