Cortes Bank: Far removed from land, in the middle of the ocean, a mountain rises from the sea. Great Whites flock there, as seals are plentiful. Don't get hurt here–it's a long way home, no matter where you live. Photo: Greg Huglin.
Cyclops: This wave may not be the mythical one-eyed giant of Greek mythology, but it's still giant and just as terrifying. Photo:Photo: Russell Ord
Dungeons: Don't get locked in South Africa's premier big-wave spot. Dungeons features massive, cold swells and massive, cold-hearted sharks, and weird, shape-shifting steps. Photo: Jared Aufrichtig
Mavericks: The site of both epic success and tragedy, this wave is without a doubt one of the spookiest. Zach Wormhoudt towing into a beast during the February 2005 Ghost Trees swell. Photo: Seth Migdail
Jaws: Located Maui's northern shore, Jaws, or Peahi isn't your run of the mill big wave spot. Those big swells that bang into Jaws and turn into man-ridden monsters end in a 300-foot cliff that's waiting to churn you up. Photo: Photo: Tim McKenna
Meteorites: On Mauritania sits a wave that, in itself, isn't all that scary. What is scary, however, is the eerie wreck hung up on the reef. Pirate ghosts, anyone? Photo: John Seaton Callahan.
Mavericks: After years pent up in Jeff Clark's embrace, Mavericks exploded onto the big-wave scene in 1990. It's dark, it's cold, and it's a killer: Mark Foo's life ended here, sadly changing the world of surfing forever. Photo: Jason Murray
Cape Fear, a.k.a. Ours: Twenty miles south of Sydney sits a shallow, heavy slab that breaks just feet in front of barnacle-encrusted cliff. Pound for pound, it's one of the heaviest waves in the world, and not for the faint of heart. And you know what might be scarier than the wave? The locals. The infamous Bra Boys call this their home break, so when they're out, you shouldn't be.
Photo: Jason Corroto
Pipeline: Everyone knows Pipe. Throughout the years, the Banzai Pipeline has probably been the site of more tragedy than any other wave in the world. In 2004 and 2005, Japan's Moto Watanabe and Tahitian Malik Joyeux lost their lives there, and there have been countless injuries. RuddyPhoto.com
Shipstern Bluff: Located off the south end of Tasmania, Shippies trips the entire ocean on a granite slab, then throws itself at a headland that's lined in boulders. Once called Devil's Point, the complicated bathymetry at Shipstern creates a wave that mutates as it folds over on itself. Watch thou for the Mutant! Photo: Photo: Stuart Gibson
The Yeti: While it's not a Himalayan giant snowman, the Yeti is just as scary. It growls when a wave breaks. Photo: Matt Clark