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Germany's Sebastian Steudtner officially now holds the big wave surfing world record. At a ceremony in Portugal, Steudtner was honored for his 2020 ride that has been officially confirmed as having reached a height of 26.21 meters, or 86 feet.

NAZARE (Portugal). It was a perfect day for big wave surfing in Praia do Norte, Nazaré, Portugal, back on Thursday, October 29, 2020. Sebastian Steudtner, who was already a two-time Big Wave Award winner, turned into the giant wave with his own special method, a wave that NASA would later call the biggest wave ever measured. He raced along the trough of the wave at speeds exceeding 80 mph for more than half a minute. "I felt an incredible level of energy from that water," Steudtner said, still in awe of the power of that unforgettable wave.

Now, after an 18-month delay due in part to COVID as well as systemic issues, his ride has been recognized as a world record by both the World Surf League (WSL) and Guinness. Using a new calculation method, the height was determined to be 86 feet, or 26.21 meters. The Nuremberg, Germany native thus surpassed Brazilian Rodrigo Koxa as record holder. He had surfed an 80 foot-high wave at the same spot in 2017.

At a ceremony at the famous Nazaré lighthouse on Portugal's Atlantic coast, Steudtner was presented with the official certificate by a representative of Guinness World Records and the World WSL.

Sebastian Steudtner, who moved to Hawaii at the age of 16 to start a career as a professional surfer with new methods, is the Big Wave partner of Brazilian Maya Gabeira, who holds the women's record and also drove one of Steudtner’s three support jet skis on October 29. The 37-year-old surfing pioneer was delighted about finally getting the official confirmation of his daring exploit. "It's an amazing feeling to finally hold the world record in my hands. I'm really proud of this achievement and of my whole team's performance. It was my dream since I was a kid to become a surfer and I've always stayed true to that dream. To stand here today and have achieved everything in my sport is epic. I hope my journey and this world record will inspire lots of others to chase their dreams as well."

The submitted rides are analyzed by videos in a complicated and extensive procedure and then calculated based on the athlete's measurements and other available indicators such as board or jet ski.

Steudtner, who is also a founder of the Nazaré Surf Rescue Association, would also like to help significantly improve the safety of this sport as part of an overall safety project. Also to avoid dangerous situations like one that happened on that memorable October 29, when the newly crowned world record holder was later able to rescue a Portuguese and the US star Kai Lenny from dicey situations.

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