SYDNEY: Australian Laura Enever has surfed her way into the record books after stroking into a giant four-storey wave in Hawaii earlier this year, the World Surf League and Guinness World Records said yesterday.
Enever, 31, was surfing at an outer reef on Oahu’s North Shore in January when she caught a huge blue wall measured at 13.3m, breaking the world record for the biggest wave ever paddled into by a woman.
“When I took off and I looked down the face and was like ‘Holy cow, this is the biggest wave you’ve ever been on, just make it to the bottom, do not fall here at the top’,” Enever said.
She did make it to the bottom but was quickly steamrolled by the wave and some even larger ones behind it.
“I came up from that wave, and there was a huge, huge wave behind that took out the whole line-up, and I just saw boards flying everywhere.
“That wave, I had to really go back to my training.
“There was actually three of them that came, so yeah, just had to stay super calm … When I got to the inside, I was almost laughing – I just couldn’t believe I’d caught that wave but also escaped that crazy, huge wave behind mine.”
Most photographers and videographers were covering a big wave competition at nearby Waimea Bay and it was not until days later when a photographer messaged her with a picture of her ride that she realised it might be a world record.
“It was amazing because I’d come to terms with it just being a moment I’d had and even if there wasn’t any photos or records of it, then I was happy with that,” she said.
“When I showed my family – I’d already told them about the wave – but when I showed them, they were half mad and half proud. They were like, ‘Oh my goodness, you didn’t tell us it was that big.”
Hawaii’s Aaron Gold holds surfing’s men’s paddle record with a 19.2m wave he caught off Maui in 2016, while Brazil’s Maya Gabeira was towed by a jet ski into a wave measuring 22.4m at Nazare in Portugal in 2020.
The biggest wave ever ridden was a 26.2m monster at Nazare, towed into by Germany’s Sebastian Steudtner in 2020.