Big wave surfer Sebastian Steudtner surfed the biggest recorded wave in history on October the 29th, 2020, at Praie do Norte, Nazaré, Portugal. The wave was recorded as being 86 feet tall, topping Brazilian big-wave rider Rodrigo Koxa’s previous effort of 80 foot, which was set at the same location in 2017. It took 18 months for Steudtner’s effort to be recognised officially, however, and even longer (two years from the day he surfed it) for it to become “the most seen wave in the history of surfing.”
Sebastian Steudtner, a German surfer who didn’t start surfing until he was an adult, inspired the world in 2020, when he surfed the biggest wave ever recorded in history.
The October session, which came about thanks to Hurricane Epsilon – a rare event that eventually blasted much of Europe’s coastline to pieces, and which sent waves at Nazaré from a rare, favourable swell direction – had Nazaré frothers frothing.
What was even more remarkable about that day was the lack of wind; as the North Atlantic roiled with monster swell, surface conditions (for a time) at Nazaré were relatively calm, making the massive waves more surfable than usual.
During this historic big wave session, Steudner snaffled a bomb, and rode it to completion, with filmmaker Javi Goya capturing the spectacular moment. 18 months later the Guiness Book Of Records called it the biggest wave ever surfed and recognised it as 86 feet tall (a measurement derived by comparing the length of Steudner’s lower leg to the wave behind him).
Two years later, Steudner, who is a Porsche athlete, took to Instagram to claim the video had close to half a billion views on it, making his wave the most seen wave in the history of surfing.
“Getting close to half a billion views on the most seen wave in history of surfing – two years to the day after I surfed it. Cheers to the internet.”Sebastian Steudner
Speaking about the wave, Steudner has said: “I felt the most power of any wave I’ve surfed at Nazare.” He also said, according to Surfline, “I remember the waves were actually super close together… Really fast, really steep and kind of crazy.”
Given the spectacular lighthouse lookout point, and the estimated 30,000 spectators standing on the cliff to watch, we imagine it won’t be a moment he forgets any time soon…