The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

‘It was amazing’: Brazilian surfer rides record-breaking 80-foot wave

Giant waves hit the coast of Nazare, Portugal on Nov. 8, 2017. One surfer was able to ride an 80-foot wave. (Video: Dan Ngo)
Placeholder while article actions load

In the video footage, the surfer is just a tiny shape cutting across a mountainside of dark blue.

Last November, professional surfer Rodrigo Koxa was trying his luck on the waves smashing the coast at Nazaré, Portugal. The 38-year-old Brazilian knew he had caught a skyscraping wall of the Atlantic Ocean — what he learned over the past weekend was it was a history-making ride.

On Saturday, at the annual Big Wave Awards, the World Surf League announced the wave Koxa rode last year was 80-feet, making it the highest ever recorded, USA Today reported. Koxa now officially has been garlanded with the Guinness World Record for the largest wave ever surfed.

Koxa’s wave was two feet higher than the last record-holder, a 78-foot wave ridden by American surfer Garrett McNamara in 2011 at the same location.

As Koxa told, back in November, perched on the 80-foot water wall, the surfer channeled a recent dream.

“I had an amazing dream the night before,” he told the website.  “Where I was talking to myself, ‘You gotta go straight down. You gotta go straight down.’ I didn’t really know what it meant. But I figured somebody was talking to me.”

When Koxa got his wave, he recalled the words, heading straight down the roiling face of the water as it built and broke behind him like an avalanche.

“I remembered my dream. I turned and I almost fell, but then I got my feet again and went super fast. I’ve never had a big wave like that where I didn’t use the rail at all. Just went straight down. It was amazing.”

It’s no accident both world record waves came ashore at the same location.

Nazaré is famed for its massive waves due to the conditions on the ocean floor, according to a 2013 article by NPR. A deep canyon, dropping 16,000 feet from the water’s surface, channels waves toward the town, increasing the water’s power as it barrels into the coastline.

“Normally, what happens is that the open-ocean swells, as they approach the coastline, they’re going to be slowed down by the ocean bottom as it gets shallower,” Micah Sklut, a forecaster with told NPR.

“But at Nazaré, for example, the ocean swells get focused in this submarine canyon and have much more energy. … So, first you’ve got really deep water, and then as it approaches the shore it gets very shallow, and that enables the waves to climb really, really big all of a sudden.”

More from Morning Mix:

Trump scolds ‘filthy’ comedian. Correspondent’s head expresses regret.

After ‘Avengers’ screening, a Calif. man started yelling about God. Moviegoers panicked.

Singer Halsey stirs debate over hotels offering only ‘white people shampoo’