Riding the waves is something millions of people love to do, but nobody has ridden a wave as big as Brazil’s Rodrigo Koxa.

The 38-year-old is now the official Guinness World Records title holder for the Largest wave surfed (unlimited) which measured 24.38 m (80 ft).

Koza rode the wave at Nazaré, Portugal, on 8 November 2017 but was awarded the Quiksilver XXL Biggest Wave award by the World Surf League (WSL) at an event in California, US, on Saturday 28 April.

"I've tried to surf big waves all my life and I had a huge experience in 2014 where I almost died at Nazaré," Koxa said. "Four months later, I had bad dreams, I didn’t travel, I got scared, 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."

The Quiksilver award goes to the surfer who, by any means possible, catches and rides the biggest wave of the year, and Koxa now has his Guinness World Records title to put alongside that.

Rodrigo Koxa with his Quiksilver award. Copyright: World Surf League

How the largest wave record has increased

In the last few years the record for the Largest wave surfed (unlimited) has been creeping up. This is how the waves ridden have got bigger.


On 10 January 2004, American Pete Cabrinha successfully surfed a wave with a face 21.3 m (70 ft) high at the break known as Jaws (Peahi) on the North Shore of Maui, Hawaii.

Cabrinha was towed into the wave using a wave runner and his successful ride earned him a Billabong XXL Award and $70,000.


Four years later, fellow American Mike Parsons managed to beat that by riding a 23.4 m (77 ft) wave at Cortes Bank, an underwater mountain range located 160 km (100 miles) off the southern California coast.

His ride took place on 5 January 2008, mid-way through a storm passing over the area which generated giant swells and buoy readings of 25-30 m (80-100 ft). With the mountain peak rising 4,000 ft from the ocean floor to just below the surface, it can create ideal waves for surfers.


The previous best was, like Koxa’s 2017 effort, set off the coast of Portugal at Nazaré.

American Garrett McNamara rode a 23.77 m (78 ft) wave on 1 November 2011.

Speaking to Guinness World Records last year he said: "It was really like any other wave. I had no idea I was on what would become the world record wave. I remember thinking the entire time that I wish I was deeper but after looking at the footage I realized my jetski partner, Andrew Cotton, put me in the perfect spot."

Conquering Nazare’s waves and having his feat recognised by Guinness World Records brought the attention of the world’s media.


"It was amazing, the recognition attracted so many opportunities. Within a few days, I was covered by literally every major outlet in the world.

"Equally important is that, since that time, the Guinness World Records title acts as a kind of seal of legitimacy - it makes me very proud and humble all at once."