This is the moment a British surfer claims to have sailed into history by breaking the record for surfing the world’s biggest wave.
29-year-old daredevil Tom Butler took on a huge swell estimated to be more than 100 feet tall (30 meters) at The Nazaré in Portugal earlier this week.
While he still must submit photographic evidence to World Surf League and Guinness World Record officials, he says that onlookers and surfing experts are confident that he has beaten the previous record of 80 feet, which was set earlier this year by Brazilian surfer Rodrigo Koxa.
“When I was going down I thought, ‘Holy f***, this is the fastest I’ve ever been,’” says Butler. “[Then] time kind of slows down – it’s instinct really. I was doing everything to hold my balance.
“You don’t really see it behind you because you’re so concentrated on what’s ahead of you. It’s like running from a raging bull, you don’t stop to think about how much it weighs. If you make eye contact, then you’ve already failed.
“It’s hard to say exactly how big it was, I’d say it was 20 times my height and I’m 6 foot 2,” he added. “I haven’t had a ruler handy while in Portugal but when I get home I’ll try to figure it out. It was a monster, I know that for sure.”
Butler is no stranger to big wave surfing. In 2015, he made headlines around the world after he survived dramatic crash at The Nazaré that left him with a lung injury and bleeding from the ears.
He lived to surf another day, however, and he is now back at the same spot in search of monster waves.
“I fell off here two years ago during a big wave event and the waves were nowhere near as big as this one,” says Butler. “It’s nice to be back here, I didn’t really have any doubts.”
Butler is a professional surfer who grew up surfing the waves at Fistral Beach near his home in Newquay, Cornwall. Since then, he’s gone on to become one of the world’s best surfers with sponsorships from GoPro, NineFeetTall, and Sudeste Sports.
With the hard part done, Butler will now submit his evidence to the League ahead of the Big Wave Awards which will take place in the spring.
“No one knows how they measure it, it’s a closed panel,” says the surfer. “The decision will be made in April, but it’s exciting. They don’t rank it, they just give a winner out. It will either be the biggest wave or not.
(WATCH the awe-inspiring footage below)
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