Sebastian Steudtner says he has surfed the ‘unsurfable’ after drone technology measures 93.7-foot wave as world record


German surfer Sebastian Steudtner may have broken his own record for riding the biggest wave in history earlier this year.

The monster wave in the famed surfing sport of Nazaré, Portugal was provisionally measured at 28.57 meters (93.72 feet), pending ratification.

If confirmed, the wave would eclipse Steudtner’s current record of 26.21 meters (86 feet) set in 2020, also in the fishing village of Nazaré.

In a post on Instagram, Steudtner described the feat in February as “surfing the unsurfable” alongside footage of the wave, a foaming mass of white water trailing in his wake.

“The record to me is definitely secondary to actually riding the wave and everything that goes into it,” he told CNN Sport on Monday. “I think what was special about this last big day in February was that we surfed conditions that never have been surfed before.”

Porsche, which had a role in measuring the wave, said that the height was determined using drone technology developed by Team Steudtner and Porsche Engineering. Traditionally, record-breaking waves have been measured by analyzing video footage and images.

“It was a challenge to develop a drone that can measure not only the height of the waves but is also capable of tracking the surfer within the radius throughout the entire wave ride,” said Marcus Schmelz, project manager at Porsche Engineering.

The World Surf League, the sport’s global governing body, will have to confirm whether the wave from the February 24 event is an official world record.

That day produced historic conditions at Nazaré – so much so that the organizer of the big-wave event, Gigantes de Nazaré, asked on its Instagram feed if some of the waves, such as one surfed by Brazilian Lucas “Chumbo” Chianca, could have even exceeded the mythical mark of 100 feet (just over 30 meters).

Steudtner holds the record for the biggest wave ever surfed. - Quattro MediaSteudtner holds the record for the biggest wave ever surfed. - Quattro Media

Steudtner holds the record for the biggest wave ever surfed. – Quattro Media

“It was not just the biggest storm and the biggest waves in the past three or four years, but it was also a proper storm,” Steudtner told CNN Sport.

“We were, for the first time, surfing the biggest waves in stormy conditions which were considered unsurfable. We made that possible and that to me is what’s special from that day.”

The swells of the Atlantic Ocean and a deep canyon close to the shoreline make Nazaré a spectacular location for those hoping to surf some of the world’s biggest waves.

The 38-year-old Steudtner, like many of his peers, relocates to the west coast of Portugal for the big-wave season, which lasts from October to March.

He has adopted a scientific approach in his quest to surf a wave more than 100-feet tall, honing his craft in wind tunnels usually reserved for Porsche’s car testing and partnering with tech company Siemens as part of a project researching the biomechanics of big-wave surfing.

CNN’s Ben Church contributed to reporting.

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