SPORTS
04/30/2018 07:07 am ET

Cowabunga! Brazilian Rodrigo Koxa Breaks World Record Surfing 80-Foot Wave

"I got a present from God," the gutsy surfer said at a World Surf League ceremony.

Brazilian Rodrigo Koxa has broken a world record by riding the biggest wave ever surfed, according to the World Surf League.

Koxa mastered the monster 80-footer off the coast of Nazaré, Portugal, in November. His record-breaking feat only became official Saturday, when it was recognized with the Quiksilver XXL Biggest Wave Award at a World Surf League ceremony in Los Angeles.

“The award goes to the surfer who, by any means available, catches the biggest wave of the year,” the league said in a statement. “Not only did Koxa win this year’s honor, but he now holds the Guinness World Record for the biggest wave surfed.”

The previous record was set in 2011 by Garrett McNamara, who rode a 78-foot wave, also at Nazaré, authenticated by the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards judging committee, and confirmed by Guinness. Here’s his ride:

Other surfers — including McNamara — have claimed they broke the 2011 record, but Koxa’s ride is the only one that has been confirmed by the WSL and Guinness records.

“I got a present from God,” Koxa told The Inertia online surf news site after the awards ceremony. “It was the best present I’ve ever had.”

Koxa said he almost was killed in 2014 at Nazaré, where many of the world’s biggest surfing waves are. 

“For months later, I had bad dreams, I didn’t travel, I got scared, and my wife helped me psychologically,” he said. “Now, I’m just so happy.”

Among other honors handed out Saturday, the award for Wipeout of the Year went to British surfer Andrew Cotton, who broke his back in a horrific fall at Nazaré. He’s still recovering and plans to return soon to surfing, the WSL statement said.

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