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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!

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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.

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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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