Who is the No. 1 Surf Nation?

When you think of surfing, where do you think of? Although most people will say the USA’s Californian coast, Hawaii or even Australia, do these nations produce the most top surfers? Which country is the number 1 surf nation?

With the population of Brazil over 8000% bigger that of French Polynesia, it’s hardly fair to compare the two. Whilst everyone knows Hawaii and Australia often feature high on the leaderboard, we want to know who really is the best pound for pound surf nation!

How did we calculate it? After calculating the total number of points awarded to each nation on both the men’s and women’s 2017 World Surf League Championship Tour, we divided it by the nation’s total population. After doing the maths, this gave us the ranking figure of population per World Surf League 2017 Championship Tour point and in turn, the best pound for pound surf nation.

Surf waves

Who do you think took the top spot? Let’s find out…

The Top 13 Pound for Pound Surf Nations

13. Spain

Population: 45,560,000

World Surf League Championship Tour 2017 Points: 500

Population per World Surf League Point: 93,120
Boasting some of the best surf spots in Europe, we were surprised to find out Spain failed to make it into the top 10 surf nations. Represented by only one surfer, Aritz Aranburu came 25th in the Billabong Pro Teahupoo 2017, earning Spain just 500 points. Despite its low score, we strongly recommend Spain to anyone looking to try surfing in Europe, with the likes of Mundaka, San Sebastian and Zarautz amongst our favourite spots.

12. Japan

Population: 127,000,000

World Surf League Championship Tour 2017 Points: 1,750

Population per World Surf League Point: 72,571
Like Spain, Japan was only represented by one surfer on the 2017 Championship Tour and failed to climb into the top 10 surf nations in the world. Achieving 13th place at the Hurley Pro at Trestles, Hiroto Ohhara was the only Japanese surfer to qualify for the 2017 Men’s Championship Tour. With such a huge population, Japan will have to climb the World League Leaderboard if it wants to be known as the number 1 surf nation.

11. Italy

Population: 60,600,000

World Surf League Championship Tour 2017 Points: 18,700

Population per World Surf League Point: 3,240
Although Italy performed significantly better than Spain and Japan, the 10 top surfing nations remained out of reach. Represented by Leonardo Fioravanti in all 11 2017 Men’s Championship Tour events, Italy had an inconsistent performance on the Tour, with positions ranging from 5th to 25th.

10. Fiji

Population: 898,760

World Surf League Championship Tour 2017 Points: 500

Population per World Surf League Point: 1,797
Obtaining 25th place in the Fiji Pro 2016, Tevita Gukilau was Fiji’s only surfer in the 2017 Men’s Championship Tour. Although Fiji is surrounded by spectacular surf spots, Gukilau finished the World Men’s Championship Tour in 45th, a position shared with several nations including Spain. Despite this performance, Fiji made it into the top 10 surf nations thanks to its small population size.

9. USA

Population: 325,700,000

World Surf League Championship Tour 2017 Points: 353,060

Population per World Surf League Point: 922
Home to the 11-time World Surf League Champion, it’s obvious that the USA has a serious surf community. Represented by 6 surfers in the Men’s Tour, Kolohe Andino gave the best performance, obtaining an overall position of 7th. 4 female surfers also competed in the Women’s Championship Tour, with Courtney Conlogue achieving an overall position of 4th. Despite these places, the sheer size of the USA prevented from climbing higher than 9th in the top surf nations.

8. South Africa

Population: 55,910,000

World Surf League Championship Tour 2017 Points: 98,700

Population per World Surf League Point: 566
Claiming an overall 4th place in the 2018 Men’s Championship Tour, South Africa managed to reach 8th in the worlds top surf nations. Represented by 3 surfers on the Tour, the true star of the nation is Jordy Smith, who claimed victory at the Rip Curl Pro 2017. South Africa was also represented in the women’s Tour, with Bianca Buitendag reaching 17th place overall.

7. France

Population: 66,900,000

World Surf League Championship Tour 2017 Points: 137,800

Population per World Surf League Point: 485
Boasting some of the most consistent surf spots in Europe, it isn’t a surprise that France reached number 7 in the top surf nations ranking. Although Jeremy Flores claimed victory in the final event of the World Surf League, the Billabong Pipeline Masters 2017, his performance was too inconsistent to help France break into the top 5. Other representation came from Johanne Defay who achieved 9th place, Pauline Ado who gained 16th place, Maud Le Car in 20th place Joan Duru who achieved an overall position of 21st and Marc Lacomare who achieved 37th place.

6. Brazil

Population: 207,700,000

World Surf League Championship Tour 2017 Points: 443,290

Population per World Surf League Point: 468
A true leader in international surfing, Brazil’s huge population prevents the nation from entering into the top 5 of surf nations. Represented by 3 surfers in the top 10 of the Men’s Championship Tour, it is clear that Brazil is a nation that takes surfing extremely seriously. Although the nation achieved 5 titles during the Men’s Tour, Silvana Lima was the only female surfer to represent Brazil and achieved an overall position of joint 12th on the Tour following victory at Swatch Women’s Pro Trestles 2017.

5. New Zealand

Population: 4,693,000

World Surf League Championship Tour 2017 Points: 13,860

Population per World Surf League Point: 338
Represented by a solo female surfer in the Women’s Championship Tour, New Zealand’s relatively low population helped it secure a top 5 position in the top surf nations. Obtaining 13th place in the Rip Curl Pro 2017, Ella Williams finished an overall combined position of 23 in the Championship Tour.

4. Portugal

Population: 10,320,000

World Surf League Championship Tour 2017 Points: 34,950

Population per World Surf League Point: 295
Arguably the home of European Surf, Portugal’s presence in the top 5 helps to establish the country as a must-visit location for any keen surfer. Represented by two surfers in the Men’s Championship Tour, Frederico Morais achieved an overall position of 14th, coming 2nd in the J-Bay Open 2016. The nation was also represented on the Women’s Tour by Teresa Bonvalot who claimed 9th in the Cascais Women’s Pro Portugal 2017. If you’re looking to try the world-class surf spots Portugal offers, we recommend Cascais, Lagos, Peniche and Sagres.

3. Australia

Population: 24,130,000

World Surf League Championship Tour 2017 Points: 672,130

Population per World Surf League Point: 35
With 4 of the top 10 surfers in both the Men’s and Women’s Championship Tour coming from Australia, the nation maintains its position as one of the top surf nations. Whilst the men’s tour achieved 3 victories, it is in the Women’s Tour that the nation really showed its dominance, claiming 1st, 2nd and 3rd place overall.

2. French Polynesia

Population: 280,208

World Surf League Championship Tour 2017 Points: 25,450

Population per World Surf League Point: 11
Despite only being represented by a handful of surfers in the World Surf League, French Polynesia is one of the top surfing nations in the world. Whilst Michel Bourez achieved 19th place overall and Taumata Puhetini came in 45th place overall in the Men’s Tour, it is as a result of the relatively small population size that French Polynesia achieves 2nd place in our ranking.

1. Hawaii

Population: 1,428,000

World Surf League Championship Tour 2017 Points: 330,100

Population per World Surf League Point: 4
As many will have guessed, Hawaii is the worlds number 1 surf nation (although Hawaii is technically part of the USA, the WSL recognises it as its own sovereign surfing nation). Home of the sport and the winner of the Men’s Championship Tour 2017, the nation was represented by 7 surfers during the 11 events. In addition, 6 Hawaiian surfers featured in the top 20 of the Women’s Championship Tour, with Carissa Moore achieving the best result of 5th place.

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