For the uninitiated, it would be easy to guess that the world’s largest waves probably break off the coast of Hawaii or perhaps Australia. But for the past ten years, a wave known as Nazaré (pronounced ‘naz-a-ray’) located off Praia do Norte beach in a quaint town on Portugal’s rugged west coast has been attracting the best surfers in the world. big waves in the world like moths to the proverbial flame – or in this case, hell.
Crowds gather on top of the cliff at Praia do Norte to watch surfers battle the world’s biggest waves… [+].
Reading: Biggest wave ever surfed
nazaré is a real monster: the wave it claims is very likely to break the magical hundred foot barrier that has long been the holy grail of big wave surfing. It is a natural phenomenon created by the Canhão da Nazaré, the largest underwater canyon in Europe. Reaching depths of 16,500 feet, the canyon narrows to a point where it meets land, channeling the waves that have been building and traveling up through the Atlantic Ocean in gigantic water towers that, when they reach the top, They have nowhere to go but down. It is the faces of these titanic waves where surfers as brave as they are talented are placed, whipped by jet skis to try to make sure they have enough speed to leave behind the foamy beast that is chasing them. It’s quite an arena.
That these waves break directly in front of a cliff-top viewing platform that puts viewers so close to the action they can see the whites of the surfers’ eyes has only added to Nazaré’s notoriety. it’s like it’s perfectly sculpted and designed for the multimedia age of video sharing.
Crowds watch as Sebastian Steudtner is slammed into a moving mountain on October 29, 2020.
It was here on October 29, 2020 that German (not a nation famous for its giant swells or professional surfers) Sebastian Steudtner was towed into what has just been ratified by Guinness World Records as the largest wave ever. surfed: an 86-foot tower that Steudtner reduced to an almost comical, ant-like scale. it was a record that took almost two years to be awarded.
Speaking to Spanish newspaper Marca, Steudtner said of his wave, “Tears were coming out of my eyes because of the wind, my face was melting. It was crazy. I didn’t imagine that could happen in the surf until that day. ” speaking to magicseaweed, he added: “i remember thinking, ‘oh, that’s fast.’ the wave was chattering, crazy. he felt big, but at the time, he wasn’t quite sure how big. That’s the way it is, you keep going.”
‘moving on’ is something steudtner is very familiar with. he has form in the realm of big waves, but his recent achievements were subject to a freak mishap that cost him dearly, both emotionally and financially. In 2018, a huge wave that Steudtner surfed (again in Nazaré) went viral with, to date, more than a billion views across different platforms, making it the most viewed and shared wave in history. But Steudtner was cruelly denied the glory and the reward, as most of the media and even the occasional celebrity incorrectly attributed the footage to the then world record holder, Brazilian surfer Rodrigo Koxa. some, but not all, have since fixed the bug.
Despite the missed funding and sponsorship opportunities that would no doubt have provided him with such coverage, today Steudtner is more philosophical. “The way I look at it now is maybe I didn’t get the credit for it, we’ll never know why it went wrong, but it’s probably one of the most successful surf releases of all time, for me personally. the recognition of the public in that sense, does me good. people are correcting it when they see it now. the people have spoken. commercially, it’s wrong [laughs].”
In fact, now it must be quite satisfying to know that you now officially hold the record for the biggest wave ever surfed. “I am very proud of this achievement and the performance of my entire team. It was a dream since I was a child to become a surfer and I have always stayed true to that. I hope my journey and this world record inspire a lot.” of others to pursue his dreams too,” he told magicseaweed. and what does it mean for him and his future career? “it’s great to have, it feels like it was meant to be. I’ve put all my energy into this, I don’t know who else cares as much as I do here, it’s great to have this on the resume, let’s see what comes of it.”
the picturesque fishing port of nazare on the west coast of portugal, with golden beaches and … [+] giant waves.
whether steudtner inspired you to throw on a wetsuit, grab a board and motor in the lineup yourself (don’t do this) or you just want to see one of the most impressive examples of the pure power of balanced nature . With humanity’s overwhelming desire to challenge it, Nazaré is a fantastic vacation destination. An old traditional fishing village with a huge sandy beach steeped in Portuguese tradition, its warm yet temperate climate makes it a year-round option. but for big wave surfing (watching), October through March offers the best window for those massive winter waves.
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