Biggest Surfing Wave World Record – Awesome and A Little Terrifying

I love the beach and can literally spend days bobbing up and down in the waves – coming out only for sustenance and sunblock at periodic intervals. But the sight of big waves is absolutely terrifying for me since I've been slammed by a larger-than-expected wave many, many times since I was a child. So, I have a very healthy respect for the mighty ocean. The very idea of surfing sends a shiver down my spine and the sight of one of those monster waves of the sort that recently set a Guinness world record… well that is the stuff of nightmares.

World record

This is the video of “The largest wave surfed (unlimited) - male is 26.21 m (86 feet), and was achieved by Sebastian Steudtner (Germany), off the coast of Praia do Norte, Nazaré, Portugal, on 29 October 2020.”  Just looking at that; merely considering the possibility of a wave that size crashing onto a person made me anxious.


This response indicates that there is some superhuman or godly power behind a wave such as this (Poseidon being the Greek God of the Sea/.

The coastline

This view shows us the unique topography that gives rise to these giant waves.

What actually happens

This particular location on the coast of Portugal produces these giant waves because of an underwater canyon and because of storms from the Atlantic Ocean.

Some perspective

A wave that high is about as tall as an 8 storey building. Again, the word terrifying comes to mind.

Why are we hearing about it now?

This happened in 2020 but we are hearing about it only now because it took 18 months for the team to verify and determine the official height.

The challenge

It is a race against time where the surfer is constantly working to keep out of reach of that massive wave as it breaks.

This guy

Sebastian Steudtner beat the previous record by about 6 feet with this most recent record breaking attempt.

“Believe in your dreams”

“My dream is to surf the biggest waves on this planet and to be the best I can be,” says the Twitter bio of this Big Wave surfer and now Guinness World Record Holder. Clearly, one person's dreams are another’s nightmares – Sebastian Steudtner’s dreams, my nightmares. As I watched that video of the giant wave curling in and crashing so agonisingly close to that puny human on a plank the words “hurry, hurry, and get out of there with your life” kept going round and round in my head.

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