German Surfer Rides Largest Recorded Wave (86 Feet), Breaks World Record (Again) - Stab Mag

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German Surfer Rides Largest Recorded Wave (86 Feet), Breaks World Record (Again)

What does it mean?

news // May 24, 2022
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Sebastian Steudtner was just verified as the Guinness World Record holder for the largest wave ever surfed (again).

The WSL committee has carefully analyzed his wave — which Steudtner whipped into at Nazaré on October 29, 2020 — and settled on the measurement of 86 feet (26.21 meters) from trough to crest. The German surfer smashed the previous record (his own), which was 80 feet flat.  

Five hundred seventy-two days have passed since the wave graced Praia do Norte. The WSL has used this time to ensure diligent measurement practices were observed to the fullest. If you want a reminder of how their inherently subjective yet shocking precise wave-height-determining system works, read here. 

Here’s the wave, btw.

Now for a more existential question: what does this all mean? 

On a micro level, Steudtner’s profile will grow, leading to more money from sponsors (endemic and otherwise), mainstream attention, and an extended big-wave career. 

On a larger level, surfing will be featured in some morning news shows and non-partakers will ooh and ahh at the profound imagery (“86 feet, wow, that’s like an eight-story building!”). Shows like The 100-foot Wave will see a ratings bump, the Guinness folks will pat themselves on the back for their foray into “extreme sports”, and people around the world will wonder: how did a German become the best surfer in the world?    

Meanwhile, lifelong surfers will mutter subdued criticisms like “he got whipped in” and “Nazare’s just a burger”, when, in reality, they probably wouldn’t grab the rope if it was gold-plated and being pulled by Laird himself. 

Which is to say, life as we know won’t change much due to the extra “six feet” on Sebastian Steudner’s semi-recent Nazaré wave. But we congratulate him all the same. 

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