Top 10 Famous Australian Surfers (Aussie Surf Legends)


Australia produces some of the most famous surfers on the planet.

Let’s meet some top Australian pro surfers and see what makes them icons in our sport.


Mick Fanning

Mick Fanning, aka White Lighting, is a three-time ASP world title holder and an all-around wizard on a piece of fibreglass.

Mick was born in Penrith, New South Wales, Australia on June 13, 1981, but it wasn’t until his family up and moved to Tweed Heads that Mick began surfing virtually every day.

He formed close relationships with fellow Coolie kids Joel Parkinson and Dean Morrison, creating a tight-knit group that helped push their surfing to the next level.

He joined the ASP (Association of Surfing Professionals) World Tour in 2002 and won his first World Championship in 2007, followed by 2009 and 2013. 

The Aussie shredder was a competitive force on tour; his lightning-fast surfing and razor-sharp carves made him a challenging opponent.

But his most infamous moment came later when he got attacked by a shark during the 2015 J-Bay Open final against fellow surfer and friend Julian Wilson.

Thankfully, he was unharmed in the incident, but it made global news and made Mick a bit of a celebrity.

Fanning retired from competitive surfing in 2018 after competing in his final event at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, coming in second to Italo Fereira’s deadly backhand.

Since leaving the WSL world tour, Mick has focused on his entrepreneurial side, turning his talents into becoming a global surfboard manufacturer producing high-quality foam boards for surfers of all abilities.

Steph Gilmore

The most successful female surfer in the entire history of our sport with what can only be described as a very busy trophy cabinet.

Steph was born on January 29, 1988, in Murwillumbah, New South Wales, where she began surfing at the ripe age of 10, quickly showing a natural talent.

In 2005, at 17, she was given the coveted wildcard slot for the 2005 Roxy Pro Gold Coast, where she levelled the whole field to win her first world tour event.

From there, Gilmore joined the ASP Women’s World Tour full-time, going on to win the World Championship in her rookie year!

Steph then went on to win the World Championship another seven times, making her the most successful female surfer ever.

Throughout her illustrious career, Gilmore has won 32 Championship Tour events, with wins at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, Roxy Pro Gold Coast and the Maui Pro.

Joel Parkinson

Joel Parkinson is a retired Australian pro surfer with a successful career on the ASP World Tour.

He was born on April 10, 1981, in Nambour, Queensland. He jumped on a board at a young age and quickly honed his powerful, fluid style on the quality right-hand point breaks that litter the area.

Parkinson went on to join the ASP World Tour in 2001 and quickly established himself as one of the best surfers on the circuit.

Throughout his career, the Aussie powerhouse won 12 Championship Tour events, including his hometown event, the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast event in 2002, 04, 09, and 11.

His greatest achievement came in 2012 when he won his first World Championship at 31.

He’d come close to winning the title several times, but in 2012, he finally achieved his lifelong goal and held the trophy high after the year’s final event at Pipe.

He nurtured long-standing deals with Billabong and Dragon, and in 2014, he signed a sponsorship deal with the Commonwealth Bank in Aus.

Now Joel spreads his time between family, surfing and his business at the Blater Brewing Company, which he co-owns with lifelong friends Bede Durbridge, Mick Fanning and Josh Kerr.

Ethan Ewing

Ethan Ewing is an up-and-coming Aussie surfer whos quickly risen through the ranks of the sport and now stands as a serious threat for the world title.

His style is something to behold, mixing the sheer power of surfing powerhouse Andy Irons with the perfect technique of Mick Fanning’s frontside carves, snaps and wraps.

Ethan was born on November 13, 1998, in the surf haven of North Stradbroke Island, known for its fast, punchy beach breaks.

He shot into the surfing eye in 2016 when he won the World Junior Championship in a tightly contended final against fellow supergrom Griffin Colapinto.

He qualified for the 2017 tour but suffered a run of lacklustre results that led to him falling off the tour and having to fight his way back up on the Qualifying Series.

Ethan was requalified in 2021, and despite a surfing injury stopping him from attending some of the stops that year, he still managed a 5th at the Rip Curl Narabeen Classic and the Jeep Surf Ranch Pro.

But 2022 was a completely different story. Ethan secured a 3rd at the Hurley Pro Sunset, Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach and the Margaret River Pro before winning the event at J-Bay.

Ethan’s one of my favourite Australian surfers to watch, and with the 2024 world tour just around the corner, I can’t wait to see if he can win a world title.

Tyler Wright

Two-time world champ Tyler is one part of a true Aussie surfing legacy.

Alongside brothers Mikey and Owen Wright, they make up one of surfing’s most winning families. She’s a two-time world champ with wins in 2016 and 17.

But it hasn’t been without its ups and downs. Tyler got hit with a nasty Flu that led to post-viral syndrome and over a year out from professional surfing.

But that didn’t seem to slow her down when she returned. Now sitting at 3rd on the rankings, it’s just a matter of time before Tyler’s ferocious hacks see her to another world title win.

Layne Collette Beachley 

Layne is the second most successful female surfer with a whopping 7x world titles.

She was born on May 24, 1972, in Sydney, Australia. In 1988, at 16, she competed in her first professional surfing event, signalling the beginning of her professional surfing career.

Layne regularly defeated boys in her age bracket, and the competitive side of surfing in Manly brought out the best in Layne’s surfing.

Rocking onto the ASP Women’s World Tour in 1990, she won her first event in 1993 and finished up her surfing career with seven world titles.

Layne’s success was recognised in 2004 when she received the Laureus World Alternative Sportsperson of the Year Award and again in 2006 when she was inducted into the Surfers Hall of Fame.

Beachley now works as a keynote speaker and runs her Awake Academy for personal development.

She was also the first woman to paddle out at Ours, a slabbing reef break widely regarded as one of the most dangerous waves in the world.

Sally Fitzgibbons

Sally Fitzgibbons is an Aussie shredder born on December 19, 1990, in Gerroa, New South Wales.

Fitzgibbons has had a successful career with numerous event wins, including the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in 2019, the Margaret River Pro in 2017 and 2019, and the Rio Women’s Pro in 2012 and 2014.

She had the prestigious honour of joining a select few other Australian surfers to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where she finished an impressive 5th.

Sadly, Sally’s surf career has never led to a world title, but she’s secured the runner-up position in the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour four times.

Sally is one of the hardest workers on the circuit. Her dedication to the sport and training in and out of the water is something to behold. 

You can find out precisely what Sally’s been up to at her official website, detailing her professional career and achievements.

*Update: Sally has just requalified for the 2024 world tour where she belongs.

Damien Hardman 

Damien Hardman (nicknamed The Iceman) isn’t the most famous surfer on this list, but his mark on surfing in Australia is undeniable.

Hardman grew up in the bustling city of Sydney in the suburb of Narrabeen, right next to the beach. This quickly transferred to a love for surfing that led Damien to pursue a full-time career as a pro surfer.

He won the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach and eventually acted as the director of the competition in later years.

Throughout his career, he had an impressive 19-event wins, and his legacy was forever cemented in surfing history when he was inducted into the Australian Surfing Hall Of Fame in 1999.

Peter Townend

Peter Townend, often referred to as PT, is a retired pro hailing from Coolangatta in Queensland. 

Pete won his first surfing competition way back in 1967 before going on to become one of the best humans on a surfboard through the 70s and 80s.

Townend became the first IPS/ASP world champion in 1976, securing his position in the competitive surfing circuit.

He was heavily involved with the smash surfing hit Big Wednesday, where he held a position as William Kat’s stunt double.

Pete jumped into the coach role for America’s National Team with full force, up and relocating to Huntington Beach to pursue the position.

In the mid-80s, he started working at Surfing Magazine. He quickly worked his way up the ranks to become an advertising director before moving to a role at Rusty as their marketing director.

Wayne Lynch

Wayne spent his early years in Lorne, South Australia, not far from the surfing mecca of Torquay and the legendary right-hand point break Bells Beach.

He started competing early at 10, where he would show a once-in-a-generation talent, winning six Victorian Junior titles and four Australian Junior titles.

Despite global fame, Lynch shunned the limelight and tried his best to avoid the surf media with his laid-back approach to life taking priority over celebrity.

He started his own surfboard brand, Evolution, in San Diego before acting as an Ambassador for Patagonia, a role he still maintains.

Wayne’s life has been taken to the screen in the form of the new surfing documentary Uncharted Waters, which screened in 2013.

Wayne now spends much of his time exploring the local coast on his sailing kayak and trying to escape the crowds along the Ocean Road.

Other Famous Aussie Shredders

We couldn’t fit all of Australia’s surfing talent on one list, but here are some other notable mentions you can’t overlook.

  • Adam Melling
  • Adrain Buchan
  • Barton Lynch
  • Bede Durbidge
  • Bronte Macaulay
  • Callum Robson
  • Chippa Wilson
  • Dimity Stoyle
  • Felicity Palmateer
  • Harry Bryant
  • Isabella Nichols
  • Jack Robinson
  • Josh Kerr
  • Kai Otton
  • Laura Enever
  • Mark Occhiluppo
  • Nikki Van Dijk
  • Owen Wright
  • Stuart Kennedy
  • Wade Carmichael