German surfer breaks world record for biggest wave ever surfed

For the uninitiated, it would be easy to guess that the world’s biggest waves probably break off the coast of Hawaii or perhaps Australia. But for the past ten years, a wave known as Nazaré (pronounced ‘Naz-a-ray’) located off Praia do Norte beach in a quaint town on Portugal’s rugged west coast has been attracting the best surfers in the world. big waves in the world like moths to the proverbial flame, or in this case, hell.

Nazaré is a true monster: the wave that is claimed is most likely to break the magical hundred foot barrier that has long been the Holy Grail of big wave surfing. It is a phenomenon of nature created by the Canhão da Nazaré, the largest underwater canyon in Europe. Reaching depths of 16,500 feet, the canyon narrows to a point where it meets land, channeling the waves that have been building and traveling up through the Atlantic Ocean in gigantic water towers that, when they reach the top, They have nowhere to go but down. It is the faces of these titanic waves where surfers as brave as they are talented are placed, lashed by jet skis to try to make sure they have enough speed to leave behind the foamy beast that is chasing them. It is quite the sand.

That these waves break directly in front of a cliff-top viewing platform that puts viewers so close to the action they can see the whites of the surfers’ eyes has only added to Nazaré’s notoriety. It’s like he’s perfectly sculpted and designed for the multimedia age of video sharing.

It was here on October 29, 2020 that German (not a nation famous for its giant swells or professional surfers) Sebastian Steudtner was towed into what has just been ratified by Guinness World Records as the largest wave ever surfed: a tower 86-footer that reduced Steudtner to an almost comical, ant-like scale. It was a record that took almost two years to be awarded.

Talking to a Spanish newspaper brandSteudtner said of his wave, “I had tears coming out of my eyes from the wind, my face was melting. It was crazy. I didn’t imagine that could happen in surfing until that day.” Speaking to Magicseaweed, he added: “I remember thinking, ‘oh, that’s fast.’ The wave was chatty, crazy. He felt big, but at the moment, he wasn’t quite sure how big. That’s the way it is out there, you keep going.”

‘Moving on’ is something Steudtner is very familiar with. He has form in the realm of big waves, but his recent achievements were subject to a freak mishap that cost him dearly, both emotionally and financially. In 2018, a huge wave that Steudtner surfed (again in Nazaré) went viral with, to date, over a billion views across different platforms, making it the most viewed and shared wave in history. But for Steudtner glory and reward were cruelly denied, as most of the media and even a few celebrities incorrectly attributed the footage to then world record holder, Brazilian surfer Rodrigo Koxa. Some, but not all, have since rectified the bug.

Despite the missed funding and sponsorship opportunities that such coverage would undoubtedly have brought him, Steudtner today is more philosophical. “The way I look at it now is maybe I didn’t get the credit for it, we’ll never know why it went wrong, but it’s probably one of the most successful surf releases of all time, for me personally. the recognition of the public in that sense, does me good. People are correcting it when they see it now. The people have spoken. On the business side, it’s in bad shape [laughs].”

In fact, now it must be quite satisfying to know that you now officially hold the record for the biggest wave ever surfed. “I am very proud of this achievement and the performance of my entire team. It was a dream since I was a child to become a surfer and I have always stayed true to that. I hope that my journey and this world record inspire many.” of others to pursue his dreams as well,” he told Magicseaweed. And what does it mean for him and his future career? “It’s great to have him, it feels like it was meant to be. I’ve put all my energy into this, I don’t know who else cares as much as I do here, it’s great to have this on the resume, let’s see what comes of it.”

Whether Steudtner has inspired you to don a wetsuit, grab a board and motor in the lineup yourself (don’t do this), or you just want to see one of the most impressive examples of nature’s sheer power balanced with overwhelming humanity. feel like challenging it, Nazaré is a fantastic vacation destination. An old traditional fishing village with a huge sandy beach steeped in Portuguese tradition, its warm yet temperate climate makes it a year-round option. But for big wave surfing (watching), October through March offers the best window for those massive winter waves.

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