We called this one.
After a whole load of 'biggest ever' wave claims this past winter season, we decided to sit down and analyse every single Nazare session of the past half a decade to try and put it all in some form of order. We looked at November 9 2017, Koxa's record-setting session, January 18 2018, March 2020 -- that 10-day swell event, October 2020 and on and on and on. Down into the rabbit hole we went, trying to see if there's a wave that had already broken the record and how these new waves at the end of 2021 stood up.
There was only one wave that stuck out as a potential world record contender. Sebastian Steudtner’s wave in October 2020 was colossal, it was mind-blowing and comparing everything else around it only made that ride feel more impressive. From there, we spoke to the surfers on the ground at Nazare, who, for the large part, concurred. We spoke to Bill Sharp, who has been leading the way on big wave measuring for years now. We asked why Sebastian's from 2020 hadn't been looked at yet -- and the response was that 'it was all a bit up in the air, and we're looking at this season's first.'
Then, nothing. Crickets. Until today, when it's been officially announced that Sebastian's wave was measured at 86ft, topping Rodrigo's 80 footer in 2017. So, you're welcome, world. I guess.
"We define the possible," said Sebastian. "I'm really proud of this achievement and of my whole team's performance. It was a dream since I was a kid to become a surfer and I've always stayed true to that. I hope my journey and this World Record will inspire lots of others to chase their dreams as well."
This super swell was unique for Nazare, it was something special. Hurricane Epsilon had to take a very specific path from its tour of the US east coast and hurtle towards Greenland, where it eventually met with a mother system and generated a colossal blob of black swell, making a bee-line straight for Europe.
All the big names congregated on that fateful day back in 2020, and each of them had a different phrase for explaining the conditions - a personal favourite being Nic Von Rupp, "That session was messed up."
But Sebastian's wave stood out amongst the rest and now the scientists have confirmed it. MSW called this the biggest wave ever surfed earlier this year and dug deep to compare his punt with that of Rodrigo Koxa's world record from 2017. You can check that article out, here.
You can also check out the full feature from that XXL Nazare day here, as well as Sebastian's now biggest wave ever ridden, in the video above.