This paper presents a stochastic dynamic response analysis of a tension leg spar-type wind turbine subjected to wind and wave actions. The dynamic motions, structural responses, power production and tension leg responses are analyzed. The model is implemented using the HAWC2 code. Several issues such as negative damping, rotor configuration (upwind or downwind rotor) and tower shadow effects are discussed to study the power performance and structural integrity of the system. The operational and survival load cases considering the stochastic wave and wind loading are analyzed to investigate the functionality of the tension leg spar-type wind turbine. Amelioration of the negative damping applied for this concept reduces the structural dynamic responses, which are important for fatigue life. It is found that the responses induced by wave and wind actions at the wave frequencies are not affected much by the aerodynamic excitation or damping forces. Because of the nonlinear effects of the tension leg, all of the motion responses are strongly coupled. The global responses of upwind and downwind versions of the turbine are found to be close because the tower shadow has a limited effect on the global responses. However, the structural dynamic responses of the blades are more affected by the tower shadow. In this study, the extrapolation methods are applied to efficiently estimate the maximum responses. The maximum response is found to occur in the survival cases as a result of the wave actions and the increased aerodynamic drag forces on the tower. The results show that the maximum responses corresponding to the up-crossing rate of 0.0001 (corresponding to the maximum response within a 3 hour period) can be expressed by the mean plus 3 to 5 standard deviations. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.