Brazilian surfer Rodrigo Koxa has set a new world record for the largest wave ever ridden, winning the major prize at the Big Wave Awards.
Surf officials confirmed on Saturday night Koxa broke the Guinness World Record for riding a 24.4 metre wave at Nazaré in Portugal on 8 November 2017, overtaking the previous record of 23.77 metres set by Garrett McNamara in 2011.
The honours comes after Koxa’s near-death experience four years prior in the Portugal swell.
Winning the award for breaking the record was “the best day of my life,” Koxa said.
“I try to surf big waves all my life, and I had a huge experience in 2014 where I almost died at Nazaré,” Koxa said at the awards ceremony in Santa Monica.
“Four months later, I had bad dreams, I didn’t travel, I got scared, and my wife helped me psychologically.
“Now, I’m just so happy, and this is the best day of my life. Thank you to WSL, it’s a dream come true.”
Former record holder McNamara congratulated Koxa for his record-breaking wave.
“I am so proud of you, Rodrigo Koxa, for winning the biggest wave. When Rodrigo first came to Hawaii, he lived with me at my house, and I shared all my experience with him for years. Then, he came to Nazaré, humble and grateful,” he said.
“He is one of the most grateful people I have ever come across, and a living example that gratitude will take you farther than any other personality trait. His gratitude and humbleness have paid off ten fold. His eagerness and willingness to ask for guidance and learn everything has gotten him where he is tonight. Congrats!”
Koxa’s compatriot Lucas Chianca, 22, who won the Nazare Challenge earlier this year, was awarded the best men’s overall performance trophy.
The best women’s overall performance went to Hawaiian surfer Paige Alms for the third time in her career.
Alms defended her Big Wave Tour crown after winning the Pe’ahi Challenge this year.
Meanwhile, Britain’s Andrew Cotton won the wipeout of the year award after his horror fall in Nazare, Portugal, on November 8, 2017.