Australian surfer Laura Enever has achieved a remarkable feat by riding a massive four-story wave in Hawaii, according to the World Surf League and Guinness World Records. The wave, measuring 43.6 feet (13.3m), was caught by Enever at an outer reef on Oahu’s North Shore in January, setting a new world record for the largest wave ever paddled into by a woman.
Enever described her experience, saying that when she saw the enormous wave, she focused on making it to the bottom without falling. Although she successfully reached the bottom, she was quickly overwhelmed by the wave and even larger ones that followed. Enever recalled seeing boards flying everywhere and had to rely on her training to stay calm. Despite the challenging situation, she found herself laughing when she reached the inside, amazed that she had caught such a wave and escaped the massive one behind it.
The discovery of Enever’s record-breaking ride came days later when a photographer sent her a picture of the wave. Most photographers and videographers were covering a big wave competition at Waimea Bay nearby, so it took some time for the image to reach her. Enever initially accepted the experience as a personal achievement, even without any photographic evidence or records. However, when she showed her family the picture, they were both surprised and proud of her accomplishment.
In terms of other surfing records, Aaron Gold from Hawaii holds the men’s paddle record with a 19.2m wave caught off Maui in 2016. Meanwhile, Brazil’s Maya Gabeira was towed by a jet ski into a 22.4m wave in Portugal’s Nazare in 2020. The largest wave ever ridden was a 26.2m monster at Nazare, towed into by Germany’s Sebastian Steudtner in 2020.
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