Was Carlos Burle‘s ride at Nazaré really the largest wave ever surfed? Let’s dissect the controversy over October’s “Big Monday” swell in Portugal versus Garret McNamara’s 2011 World Record, which some refer to as his “100ft wave.”
Big wave surfers are charging harder than ever these days, so when it comes to catching (and claiming) the biggest waves of all time, the competition is fierce. Recently, Brazilian Red Bull surfer Carlos Burle caught what seems to be like THE biggest wave ever surfed at one of the heaviest waves in the world, Nazaré, in Portugal. However, surrounding that claim is heavy controversy, and if, indeed, it truly was the biggest wave of all time.
Yup, those are some monster waves. However, if the Guinness Book of World Records hasn’t quite written it off yet as the biggest wave ever surfed, do we still think so?
One of the pioneers of big wave surfing, Hawaiian Laird Hamilton, begs to differ about the “Big Monday” claim to fame. In a recent CNN interview, Hamilton stated that Burle was not able to complete the ride, thus, making it “one of the biggest wipeouts” in history versus a ‘make’. Click here to watch the CNN interview.
Amongst the controversy, big wave surfer Garret McNamara currently holds the record for surfing the largest wave ever documented at the same break in November of 2011. Mainstream media seemed to round it up to 100 ft, but Guinness Book recorded the wave at 78 ft. The real question is: how do you measure a gigantic wave at that size? The depth perception from the coastline depends dramatically on where you are standing, and photographers on the cliff may have an angle that doesn’t show the full potential. McNamara claimed that the wave was even bigger than the photographs display, due to the fact that the set wave reached its maximum size before the pictures were snapped of him coming down the face.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, “the largest wave surfed (unlimited) is 23.77 m (78 feet), measured from trough to crest, achieved by Garrett McNamara (USA) off the coast of Praia do Norte, Nazaré, Portugal, on 1 November 2011… Authenticated by the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards judging committee.”
The Surf Channel sat down with McNamara for an exclusive interview with the expert watermen to talk about conquering the Portuguese beast:
We want to know what you think about the controversy over the largest wave ever surfed. Leave comments below!