Brazilian surfer sets world record riding 80-foot wave in Portugal spot that almost killed him before

Brazilian surfer Rodrigo Koxa took on an 80-foot wave in Portugal that almost killed him in 2014 and walked away with a world record. (AP)
Brazilian surfer Rodrigo Koxa took on an 80-foot wave in Portugal that almost killed him in 2014 and walked away with a world record. (AP)

If you’re working in a downtown office somewhere, take a look outside and count eight stories up on the nearest high-rise.

Now imagine there’s a giant ocean wave that tall barreling down on you. Pretty terrifying image. But not to Brazil’s Rodrigo Koxa, evidently.

Koxa was awarded the Quiksilver XXL Biggest Wave Award at the World Surf League Big Wave Awards in Santa Monica this week for this ride at Nazaré, Portugal in November. The wave, deemed to be 80 feet high, is now acknowledged by Guinness as the largest wave ever ridden. 


The ride breaks Garrett McNamara’s previous record of 78 feet at the same spot in 2011.

Koxa, 38, had to overcome a significant psychological hurdle to achieve the record after the same wave almost killed him in 2014.

“I try to surf big waves all my life, and I had a huge experience in 2014 where I almost died at Nazaré,” Koxa told Surfer Today. “Four months later, I had bad dreams, I didn’t travel, I got scared, and my wife helped me psychologically. Now, I’m just so happy, and this is the best day of my life. Thank you to WSL, it’s a dream come true.”

It takes a special breed to challenge nature and defy injury or death like big wave surfers do. Congrats to Koxa on his record.

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