One time I stood on a surfboard in Waikiki and jiggly-legged my way to the shore. Between the coral below and the ever-looming threat of sharks, I was mostly terrified and not thrilled at all. I am fine lubbing on land.
The same cannot be said of this German surfer, who rode his way down the slope of what one Twitter user claimed was a 115-foot wave off the shores of Portugal. Either way, if the gap between my driveway game of ‘horse’ and LeBron James careening down the court of an awesome dunk is large, I don’t even know how to describe the chasm between my Hawaii experience and this.
If it weren’t for the wake of the surfer, I don’t even think you’d be able to identify him out there amidst the vast ocean.
A stunning view: Sebastian Steudtner, a German surfer, rode a 115 feet tall wave at Nazare, Portugal 2018 pic.twitter.com/WatZfyE6mS
— Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar) August 21, 2022
I am asking this rhetorically, but it defies my imagination that waves can even get that big. How does this happen? In one moment, the ocean is flat – and in the next it’s producing waves taller than most modern cities. The force of such a phenomenon is equally beyond comprehension. If anything it’s a good reminder of how majestic the natural world is.
Out of curiosity, I began searching for the largest waves ever recorded. If that surfer was there for just another day in Portugal, then between meteor strikes, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes the bounds seem limitless in scope and size. Recent recorded history appears to show this:
“During the night of July 9, 1958, the largest recorded wave in history occurred in Lituya Bay, Alaska. It reached an astonishing height of 1,720 feet. As a frame of reference, the Empire State Building is 1,250 feet tall.