Nazare, Portugal is known for having the biggest waves on the planet. They’re so end-of-the-world gigantic that it seems impossible anyone would even attempt to ride them, much less succeed at it. But daredevil big wave surfers flock to this spot and put their lives on the line to be one of the few that can say they’ve ridden a wave as tall as a skyscraper.
Brazilian surfer Rodrigo Koxa is one such athlete. On Saturday, Koxa was honored by the World Surf League for riding the biggest wave ever surfed, an 80-foot monster he caught at Nazare last November, the New York Times reported. The ride broke the previous record of 78 feet that was set by Garrett McNamara at the same break in 2011. Koxa is now also recognized by Guinness World Records for the feat.
“I try to surf big waves all my life, and I had a huge experience in 2014 where I almost died at Nazaré,” Koxa said about crashing on a 70-foot wave that shattered his arm and shoulder. “Four months later, I had bad dreams, I didn’t travel, I got scared, I didn’t want to be on Earth anymore…and my wife helped me psychologically. Now, I’m just so happy, and this is the best day of my life. Thank you to WSL, it’s a dream come true.”