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WATCH: Ever Wonder What the Biggest Wave Ever Surfed Looked Like?

The wave was a whopping 80 feet tall, which is about seven stories.

At first glance at the below picture, you might just see a giant, terrifying wave.

biggest wave YouTube

But if you look closely, you'll spot an intrepid surfer hanging 10 (that's a thing, right?) on a record-breaking wave.

biggest wave Giphy

Rodrigo Koxa caught this wave back in November in Nazaré, Portugal. This month, the World Surf League's 2018 Big Wave Awards awarded him a new world record for largest wave ever surfed.

The wave was a whopping 80 feet tall, which is about seven stories — and probably at least 6.5 stories taller than a wave we care to surf.

Koxa said that he could tell the wave was going to be something special even before a jet ski pulled him toward it. In fact, he had a dream about the wave.

It sounds more like a nightmare, really, but we're glad it worked out for him!


Maybe you noticed that we said a jet ski pulled him toward the wave. That's apparently a part of giant-wave surfing. A jet ski will will lead you toward it, with the surfer hanging onto a rope. Then you let go and sail your way down.

There's a separate award for "best paddle" given to surfers who don't need the jet ski's help to risk their lives. We mean, surf a gnarly wave!

You may also wonder how exactly waves are measured for height, when they're here and gone so quickly.


It's not an exact science, but reviewers use jumbo photos of the waves and measure them with calipers against the hunched-down surfer in there somewhere.

And what makes the waves in Nazaré big enough to merit world records? Its secret is a deep underwater canyon that concentrates the strength of the waves before slamming them into shallow waters. Basically, you don't have to worry about running into a wave like that at the beach this summer unless you're actively seeking out areas known for their underwater canyons.

Nazaré isn't just great for successful surfing, either — it was also home to the winner of this year's "best wipeout" award.

Please watch the below while singing the tune to "Wipeout" in your head.

biggest wave Giphy

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