Want to know who surfed the biggest wave? You have come to the right place.
Whether you know much about surfing or not, it might not come as no surprise that big wave surfing is more extreme than competitive surfing.
It’s a discipline that only the most experienced surfers attempt and pursue, requiring technique and courage in equal measure.
Big wave surfing involves conquering epic waves that measure 20-feet tall (just over 6 meters) at the least.
If this already sounds scary, the following records will probably make your jaw hit the floor.
Below, we run through the world’s most fearless surfers who have pushed the limit of big wave surfing and smashed records at the same time.
If you are eager to know who surfed the biggest wave, make sure to keep reading to find out the answer.
The Official Guinness World Record Holder For The Biggest Wave
Holding the Guinness World Record for the Biggest Wave Ever Surfed is Rodrigo Koxa.
If you have not heard of him before, this Brazilian surfer has almost died chasing the biggest waves on earth.
Luckily, he’s still alive to see that his record remains untouched.
At Nazaré on November 8, 2017, Rodrigo Koxa broke the record for the largest wave ever surfed, which maxed out at an insane 80 feet (24.4 meters).
For pulling off the incredible feat, he earned the Guinness World Record and the Quicksilver XXL Biggest Wave Award from WSL, which is something of a big deal in the surfing community.
As of now, Rodrigo Koxa has held the record ever since. And if you want to see him surfing the 80-foot wave, the online footage is sure to blow away.
In fact, the wave is so big that you can barely make him out underneath the spray.
The Unofficial Record Holder For The Biggest Wave Ever Surfed
If an 80-foot wave sounds death-defying, October 29, 2020, saw Portuguese surfer António Laureano ride out a giant 101.4-foot (30.9 meters) wave that even stunned him.
It didn’t stop Tony from hopping on his surfboard, however, and there’s the online footage to prove it.
This incredible achievement took place in Navaré and Tony was only 18-years-old at the time.
Despite that, the record-breaking feat is yet to be officially recognized by WSL.
So, while the wave was scientifically analyzed by FMHUL (and the height does check out), Rodrigo Koxa remains the “official” record holder for the person to surf the biggest wave in the history of big wave surfing.
That said, there’s nothing stopping António Laureano from doing it again – and maybe even breaking his 101.4-foot record.
The Previous Guinness World Record Holder For The Biggest Wave
If you are wondering who held the previous Guinness World Record for the Biggest Wave Ever Surfed before Rodrigo Koxa, it was pro big wave surfer Garrett McNamara, hailing from the United States.
On November 1, 2011, in Nazaré, Garrett McNamara surfed a fear-inducing wave, from trough to crest, that was 78 feet tall (23.8 meters) – just two feet below the wave Rodrigo Koxa conquered to take his place as the current record holder.
Garrett McNamara’s achievement earned him the Guinness World Record for the Biggest Wave Ever Surfed, which he held from 2011 to 2017, a total of six years, which isn’t a bad run if you ask us.
Is Nazare The Biggest Wave?
You might have noticed one similarity between the record-holding surfers listed above: that each jaw-dropping record was achieved at Nazaré.
In fact, Nazaré, the home of Praia do Norte Beach, in Portugal, is a coastal town well-known for its colossal breaking waves that can top the 100-foot mark.
And this is all due to the underwater Nazaré Canyon that powers the incoming ocean swell to generate waves of record-breaking magnitude.
These breath-taking waves are known to come around from October to February in Navaré, which, as you would correctly expect, is the same time big wave surfers – and surfing enthusiasts – flock to Praia do Norte to get in on the action and spectate.
In addition to the wave sizes mentioned above, Nazaré has been the location for many other incredible surfing records, including those of big wave surfers Maya Gabeira, Justine Dupont, and Kai Lenny, who all make the top ten for the biggest waves ever surfed.
What Woman Has Surfed The Biggest Wave?
Women break records as much as men and there is no exception when it comes to surfing the biggest waves on earth.
As for the woman who has surfed the biggest wave, Maya Gabeira is the Female World Record holder. Maya Gabeira rightly earned her title when she successfully surfed a monstrous 73.5-foot (22.4 meters) wave in Nazaré on February 11, 2020.
The Guinness World Record for the Biggest Wave Ever Surfed by a Female has belonged to Maya Gabeira ever since.
As it turns out, Maya Gabeira is a two-time record-breaker. And the previous record that she broke was her own.
This was a 68-foot (20.8 meters) wave that she took on in January 2018, just two years before she topped her record by 5 whole feet (as if 68 feet wasn’t enough).
For her achievements, Maya Gabeira is widely considered to be among the best big wave surfers and one of the best female surfers in the world.
Just ask any surfer and her name is bound to come up.
Did the official size of the biggest waves ever surfed make your jaw drop?
Check out the footage online of the big wave surfers we mentioned above, as these death-defying feats are really a sight to behold.
Big wave surfing is not to be shrugged off as it is an extreme sport that pushes limits to the max.
And no matter whether you are a fan of surfing or not, almost everyone can appreciate the courage and skill that goes into surfing the mightiest waves the ocean has to offer.
Overall, we hope you enjoyed this guide to who has surfed the biggest waves in the history of surfing.
If you want to see the world’s best big waves surfers in action, make sure to watch The Eddie big wave surfing tournament, held each year in Waimea Bay.