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Featured Image Credit: diebilderwelt / Alamy. Youtube/WSL.
German surfer Sebastian Steudtner has officially broken the Guinness World Record for riding the biggest wave in the world.
Back in October 2020, the German scaled a monster wave off the coast of Nazare in Portugal, and it’s taken 18 months for the record to be confirmed and subsequently awarded to Steudtner.
The beats-of-a-wave was determined to be a whopping 26 metres tall.
Steudtner told The Washington Post: “I’ll never forget what I saw when I started to drop behind the peak and saw the entire wave.
“I started to accelerate like crazy. I had tears from the wind speed and was just holding on with everything I had — not doing anything funny, just hanging on.
“You don't feel the size. You feel the power. I felt the most power of any wave I've surfed at Nazare."
Nazare has become known as the home of some of the biggest waves in the world, however, it took judges some time to determine how big this one actually was.
The World Surfing League along with scientists from Guinness World Records examine a still image to determine the bottom and top of the wave.
Surfers themselves are then used as a measuring tool, as there is no way to possibly know how big the wave actually is given the camera angle.
Judges figure out how tall the surfer is standing and take into account that the person in question would be bent in a surfing stance - they then determine how many lengths of an individual could fit up the wave.
However, in the case of Steudtner, the unit of measurement was even more bizarre.
Experts from the Cripps Institution of Oceanography used the surfer’s leg to judge as their tool, measuring the distance between his shin and knee.
And then came 2020…— Sebastian Steudtner (@SebastianSurfs) June 1, 2022
The year I did it.
I surfed the biggest wave the surfing world had ever seen:
The 26.21 meter (86 foot) monster you see here.
I became a world record holder, but more importantly, I fulfilled my dream. pic.twitter.com/LcBvggw6p7
Their explanation seemingly makes sense - the distance between them can’t change as you can’t bend your lower leg.
Professor Fincham, from the University of Southern California, travelled to Nazare to analyse the location, and calculate the camera angles and distance from the wave.
The team then used 3D modelling software to covert the pixels to inches and then began measuring using the leg standard.
Professor Fincham was able to comfortably determine that the wave was worth of the Guinness World Record.
What a process.
Steudtner’s effort surpasses Brazilia surfer Rodrigo Koxa who rode a wave of 24 metres tall, also at Nazare in Portugal.