It’s Official: Surfer Catches the Largest Wave Ever Ridden

The 78-footer Garrett McNamara caught off Portugal last year has been confirmed as the largest wave ever ridden by a surfer.

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No video, not even this one, could do justice to the adrenaline rush that must come from being towed by a jet-ski into a colossally heavy 78-foot wave that looks like it could snap a surfer like a twig at any second.

This week, as if he needed it, pro-surfer Garrett McNamara got official confirmation that his superhuman feat was indeed, well, superhuman. By about a foot. The studious experts at the Guinness World Records have reviewed the video of McNamara’s wild ride on a wave he caught in November at Nazaré, Portugal last year and have officially declared it the largest wave ever ridden — beating “a record set by Mike Parsons at Cortes Bank in southern California, in 2008” who was towed in to a measly 77 footer.

Unofficially, McNamara, has already been basking in the glory. Last December, in a profile penned by Chris Jones for ESPN the Magazine, McNamara seemed almost hypnotized by his experience:

“I didn’t realize how big it was at first,” McNamara says, speaking from his home in Hawaii mostly in the present tense, as though he’s never left the face of that wave. “I hardly ever look back, but this time I look back, two or three times as the wave starts to grow. It’s like this endless mountain. Every second is so crucial just then.”

Yes, that rush that will probably last several lifetimes. As a relaxing sequel, NewsFeed would like to suggest that McNamara goes after another, far more leisurely surf record: the longest time spent surfing a single wave. It’s currently held by Gary Saavedra, who surfed the Panama Canal for a ride that lasted 3 hours and 55 minutes, according to Guinness records. Go for it!

If you want to revel in McNamara’s iconic spine-tingling moment on repeat, here’s another video of the largest wave ever ridden. You can almost feel the turbulent ocean spray: