Brazilian surfer breaks ‘biggest wave’ record - plus five more must-see videos

Rodrigo Koxa rides 80ft-high wave off the coast of Portugal

Rodrigo Koxa surf wave
Rodrigo Koxa surfs the record-breaking swell at Praia do Norte
(Image credit: Twitter)

Brazilian surfer Rodrigo Koxa has claimed a world record title after judges at the World Surf League Big Wave Awards confirmed that he rode an 80ft wave in Portugal.

The 38-year-old surfed the monster wave at Praia do Norte, off the coast of Nazare, on 8 November 2017.

That feat has now bagged him the Quiksilver XXL Biggest Wave Award, which comes with a $25,000 (£18,300) prize and “goes to the surfer who catches the largest wave of the year by any means - either by paddling into it or being towed in by a jet ski”, says CNN.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

“I'm just so happy and this is the best day of my life,” Koxa said at the awards ceremony, in Santa Monica, California, on Saturday. “It’s a dream come true.”

The record was previously held by Hawaii’s Garrett McNamara, who rode a 78ft-high wave off the same coast in 2011.

Other surfers claim they have also broken McNamara’s record, but Koxa’s wave was the first to be confirmed as the biggest yet. “Experts can measure a wave from trough to crest by comparing it with the size of the people surfing it,” explains National Geographic.

The waves of Praia do Norte, where Koxa achieved his record feat, are famous for being among the largest in the world.

The beach’s westerly location on the European coast allows it to catch excessive amounts of wind from storms that sweep across the North Atlantic, which in turn produces ocean swells.

“The ocean swells get focused in this submarine canyon and have much more energy,” surfer and forecaster Micah Sklut told news website NPR in 2013. “So, first you’ve got really deep water, and then as it approaches the shore it gets very shallow, and that enables the waves to climb really, really big all of a sudden.”

Here are five more gravity-defying waves and their riders:

Garrett McNamara, Portugal

Raimana Van Bastolaer, Tahiti

Kelly Slater, Hawaii

Dylan Longbottom, South Pacific

Mike Parsons, Pacific Ocean

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.