You know what sucks, what really really sucks? Being in the sea and having a big wave wallop you. Sometimes it’s an inevitability - if you’re jetskiing on holiday, or on one of those banana boat things, or dangling off anything being a prat - but sometimes you’re just bobbing about pleasantly and get biffed in the mush by nature, your sunglasses consigned to a watery grave, your bottom both unjustly exposed to the world and filled with sand.
Surfers make risking a wave-biffing their job, riding terrifyingly massive amounts of water with nothing but their reflexes and a repurposed ironing board standing between them and a colossal watery arse-kicking.
This weekend, surfer Rodrigo Koxa was officially named as the world record holder for the biggest wave ever surfed, following this absurd, incredible run in Portugal last November, captured by videographer Carlos Muriongo:
Yeah, that’s ridiculous. It’s hard to work out what would kill you if that went wrong - would the impact of that much water crashing down on your crush you to death? Would you just get battered underwater so much that you drowned? Or would you be smashed against the sea bed and die that way?
Koxa’s surf of the 80-foot wave beat the previous record, a 78-footer surfed by Garrett McNamara in 2011. He described gaining the title as “the greatest day of [his] life”. Koxa is a big fan of surfing terrifyingly massive waves, as his Instagram frequently shows.
Given the hideous death Koxa is risking every time he does this, you hope he’s doing it out of a genuine love of surfing (he clearly is) rather than just a desire to get in the Guinness Book of Records - like, there’s probably some dude in there who has the title for Most Irons Owned or something where ,while Koxa is risking being hideously killed, he just buys loads of irons. Hardly seems fair.
(Pic: Jeremy Bishop)