11 September 20
Officially 73.5 feet as calculated by collinearity equations. The WSL has announced that Maya Gabeira from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil won the XXL Biggest Wave Award and set the new World Record for the largest wave ever surfed by a woman.
As part of the Red Bull Big Wave Awards the BWA validated Gabeira’s ride as the new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title holder for the largest wave surfed (unlimited) - female.
Gabeira’s record-setting wave measured 73.5 feet, besting her own previous World Record, 68 feet. She broke the record at the infamous big-wave surf break, Praia do Norte in Nazaré, Portugal, on February 11, 2020, as part of the WSL’s inaugural Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge event.
Although the men’s and women’s divisions are separate for this category, Gabeira’s ride also beat the men’s Biggest Wave, which was won by Kai Lenny (Paia, Hawaii) and measured 70 feet.
In one of BWA history’s closest races, Gabeira’s ride measured only 2-to-3 feet larger than Justine Dupont’s nominated wave from the same competition day on February 11.
The rides submitted for the women’s XXL Biggest Wave Award by Justine Dupont and Maya Gabeira were incredibly close and a potential World Record.
As such, WSL deemed it important to have the data reviewed by an independent scientific team as a critical point of reference for the determination of the biggest wave.
The team included members from the WaveCo Science team, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the University of Southern California, Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering.
The analysis was based on video and photo imagery, camera locations, camera lens parameters, and environmental conditions, including tides, sunlight, and wave set-up.
Collinearity equations were used to transform the image coordinates into real-world coordinates based on estimates of the geometric parameters, including the height of the cliff at Nazaré. In addition, fixed reference points in the imagery, including the surfers’ heights, surfboard and jet ski dimensions, and estimated crouching heights, were utilized in the scientific calculations.