As any surfer knows, the height of a wave, especially one that was surfed, is both highly important, and highly subjective. However, the stakes are even higher in the realm of big waves, where a surfer’s career could be made or broken depending on how big of a wave they rode. Sebastian Steudtner was just awarded the Guinness World Record for biggest wave ever surfed for his Nazaré giant from October 29, 2020, after an exhaustive 18-month measuring process that included the use of his lower leg as a reference point for wave measurement.
I won’t go so far as to decry the whopping 86-foot wave measurement as “subjective” but I will say that an 18-month process doesn’t seem all that sustainable, especially with the number of claims of “biggest wave ever surfed” that have emerged after the crazy winter season we just witnessed in the North Atlantic. In other words, when it comes to measuring big waves, we need a new solution.