12 Wave Tattoos That Were Made For Summer

Chances are, you know someone — or someone who knows someone — who has a tattoo of a wave. (It's like six degrees of separation, but for ocean-inspired ink.) Whether it's big or small, black or filled in with color, the wave is one popular tattoo request that we don't see going away anytime soon.

If you've been considering the beachy design for yourself, it might take some time to land on which rippled wave is right for your aesthetic. Will it be a tiny crest with simple lines, something colored in with shades of blue and green, or a large artistic piece? A quick search of Pinterest or Instagram and you'll see that there are thousands of options, making it nearly impossible to find the one you actually want to bring to your tattoo artist for inspiration.


Luckily, we've sorted through them all so you don't have to. Ahead, the best wave tattoo designs worth considering this summer.

You can't talk about waves without bringing up the nearly 200-year-old print "The Great Wave Off Kanagawa" by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai, which is the inspiration for a lot of wave tattoos.
Tiny tattoos, like this single-needle wave, are perfect for anyone with a low threshold for pain.
Sure, a much bigger wave — like this one by Jess Chen — will hurt a bit more, but it's impossible to deny how rad this detailed Hokusai-inspired design will look wrapped around your arm.
What better season than summer to show off a wavy new ribcage tattoo?
Scribble art was one of 2019's biggest tattoo trends, so why not get your wave etched in this crayon-like texture?
Put a unique twist on the simple wave by turning it into a hybrid design of a sun and an ocean ripple.
These delicate designs by hand-poke artist Rosa Bluestone Perr were made for nature enthusiasts.
When it comes to painful tattoos, the foot is a hot spot for discomfort. Even so, this watery symbol will look cool when you go barefoot this summer.
You don't have to forgo intricate details in your tattoo just because it's tiny.
Yes, small wrist tattoos are still cool. The highly visible location will ensure your wavy new ink is a conversation starter.
We can't think of a better beach accessory than a wave tattoo — just don't forget the sunscreen.
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