Senior Editor
Patri McLaughlin kite boarding Jaws

The record setting wave. Photo: Daniel Sullivan//Instagram

The Inertia

On January 22, 2023, Patri McLaughlin pulled into a massive wave at Jaws with a kite. It was huge — by far the biggest McLaughlin had ever surfed — and exactly one year later, it was confirmed by Guinness to be the biggest wave ever kite surfed.

“One year ago on January 22nd, 2023, I caught this wave,” McLaughlin wrote on Instagram. “I knew then that it was the biggest wave I’ve ever caught, and probably the biggest wave ever kited. I woke up this morning January 22nd, 2024 exactly one year later to an email saying that I am now the official Guinness World Record holder for the biggest wave ever kite surfed.” The wave, seen below in an Instagram post, measured in at a staggering 72 feet, 4 inches.

It was lucky that McLaughlin was even out at Peahi that day, because he wasn’t in tip-top shape. “I had an emergency appendectomy surgery four weeks before the swell,” he explained. “I spent two nights in the hospital and I hadn’t kited or trained at all since the operation.”

But, as with most people who surf enormous waves for fun, there was no way McLaughlin was going to miss that day. “I couldn’t pass up on the biggest swell buoy numbers that I’d ever seen in my life,” he wrote, “and I’m glad that I went for it.”

Up until now, the record in kite surfing was held Nunu Figueiredo. He kite surfed a 62-footer at Nazaré back in 2017, but McLaughlin’s Jaws wave shattered that height record. And with the way things are going in the big wave world, it’s not a stretch to say we’ll see McLaughlin’s record broken in the near future.


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