Located on the "bridge of Portugal's nose" Praia do Norte is world-famous for its gigantic breakers and for hosting the largest wave(s) and (probably) future waves ever surfed according to the Guinness World Book of Records. All the largest waves attempted listed below were surfed here, the size of these waves is terrifying as it is awe-inspiring.

But no one can start with these giants, for those starting out, there are many (more suitable) beaches for learning to surf. One of the main attractions for Hawaii and its famed beaches is learning to surf there.


About Praia do Norte in Nazare, Portugal

Praia do Norte is a beach in Nazare in Portugal and is sought after by surfers around the world for its gigantic surf.

  • Name: Praia do Norte Means "North Beach"

The massive breakers one can see here are on account of the underwater Nazare Canyon. The canyon creates constructive interference between the incoming swell sending them higher and much larger.

Former World Record

The world record was once again reset in November 2011. Surfer Garrett McNamara (who lives in Hawaii) took his surfboard and made history. He surfed a breaking giant wave 78 feet or 23.8 meters from trough to crest.

  • McNamara: Broke The Record In 2011 With a 78-Foot Wave

On 28 January 2013, he returned to the spot and successfully surfed another giant of the seas. This monster is purported to have been even larger but according to sources dating from November 2018, it was still awaiting an official measurement.

Current World Record

But McNamara lost his title on November 8, 2017, to the Brazilian surfer Rodrigo Koxa (then aged 38). He rode a monster 80-foot (24.4-meter) wave at Praia do Norte. This video was captured and went viral over social media. In April 2018, he received the Quiksilver XXL Biggest Wave Award from the World Surf League (WSL), which goes to the surfer who catches the biggest wave of the year.

  • Rodrigo Koxa: Surfed A 80-foot Monster
  • Near-Death: In 2014 Koxa Neary Died In An Attempt To Surf A Monster Wave, It Took Him Months to Recover Psychologically
  • World Record: As At The Time of Writing Rodrigo Koxa Holds The World Record For Biggest Wave Ever

Related: Hawaii Guide: Where To See Honolulu's Best Views

Near Beatings Of the World Records

There have been attempts at even greater waves. On December 11, 2014, the French surfer Benjamin Sanchis (not Rick Sanchis) attempted a suicidally massive giant. This craziest ride ever was an attempt to surf a 108-foot or 33-meter also at Nazare, Portugal.

  • Sanchis: Attempted The Largest Wave Ever at 108 Feet

But while this would have been easy yet another world record, he did not finish riding it. The rules according to the Billabong XXL Biggest Wave Award state that one must ride "the meaningful portion of the wave" and Sanchis fell on the wave. Still, it is considered by many as the biggest wave ever surfed in the eyes of many and the largest ever attempted.

Another colossus was surfed (more or less) on October 28, 2013, by Brazilian Carlos Burle. In that autumn one of the most violent storms hit Europe and a handful of diehard daredevils charged into the resulting waves.

  • Burle: Reportedly More or Less Surfed A 100-Foot Wave
  • Carlos: Previously Surfed A 68-Foot Wave At Mavericks in 2001 Wining The Billabong XXL Big Wave Award, $50,000, and a new Nissan SUV

It was reported that he broke the world record with a wave estimated at 100 feet or 30.5 meters. But this has not been confirmed by Guinness World Record and it may not be counted as successful anyway as he was eventually caught by the whitewater. He caught the wave after saving his friend and tow partner - Maya Gabeira. She was attempting to ride the biggest wave by a woman at 80 feet but the behemoth just swallowed her. She nearly drowned was rushed to the hospital.

Related: 25 Of The Best Places To Ride The Waves (According To Pro Surfers)

Next World Record

But that's not the end of it. On October 29, 2020, the record may have been once again reset by the Portuguese surfer Antonio Laureano aged only 18. He surfed a death-defying 101.4-foot or 30.9-meter wave - he was towed in by his father, Ramon Laureano.

  • Laureano: Reportedly Surfed A 101.4-foot Wave

The measurement is still awaiting confirmation from the World Surf League (WSL). If the Guinness World Records confirms it, it will be once again an all-new world record (at least until someone else surfs an even bigger one).

Shout Out to The Ladies - Women's Record

But despite her near-death experience Maya Gabeira wasn't discouraged. On February 11, 2020, she surfed a 73.5 foot or 22.4-meter wave at Nazare. With this, she broke the world record for the largest wave ever surfed by a woman (and the largest surfed by anyone that season).

  • Gabeira: Holds The World Record For a Woman

The other woman she beat to gain the Guinness World Record for the largest wave surfed by a woman was no other than herself. She beat her own previous record by 5.5 feet. Naturally, she received the XXL Biggest Wave Award from WSL that year.

Next: Experience Hawaii Like A Local With This Homegrown Itinerary