Rodrigo ‘Koxa’ Augusto do Espirito Santo is one of the greatest surfers in the world and became forever part of history when he broke the world record for the biggest wave ever surfed.
The athlete was born in Jundiai in Brazil in 1979 and started surfing at the age of 9. He has been a big wave surfer for many years but in 2010 became famous worldwide after he surfed the biggest wave in South America. The wave was a staggering 60 feet high (18.3 meters) in Chile. To put that in perspective the faces on Mount Rushmore stand 60 feet above the ground.
It was only the beginning for Koxa, 7 years later as he was traveling the world following waves. He found himself in Portugal. A beach town called Nazare is said to be home to the largest and most deadly waves in the world. The town has a small population of around 15,000 but it explodes every season when the big waves arrive. Most surfers come to watch as few are brave enough to enter the water and test themselves on the big waves. Koxa was one man who dared to do it. On November 8th, 2017 Koxa surfed the largest wave ever. It was 80 feet high (24.38 meters). When you consider the fact the famous statue in Brazil the Christ the Redeemer is 98 feet high, you start to understand how insane this accomplishment was.
If that doesn’t convince you then this surely will. Koxa was awarded the biggest wave award at the surf awards in California on the same night they gave the biggest wipe out award to a British surfer, Andrew Cotton. Cotton was surfing in Nazare on the same day as Koxa when he won his award. The two awards that both men received based on the same day shows just how cruel surfing can be. Koxa went on to say the day was the greatest moment of his life. Cotton went on to spend months in a hospital bed as he suffered injuries that he was lucky did not take his life. While he will likely never recover from the injuries to his spine, Koxa can enter the water again and again.
The margins between legend and failure are incredibly thin in the world of surfing as are the margins between your name living forever and you dying at a young age. It is amazing to think that for such an extreme sport more people do not die. Every year it is estimated that around 10 people die from surfing for a variety of different reasons. Both Koxa and Cotton were lucky to escape with their lives on that day. Of course, it is not just luck. If any one of us tried to survive an 80-foot wave like these men did we would end up at the bottom of the ocean. Both men’s courage to enter the water on that day was part of fearlessness and part belief. They knew of the skills they possessed and knew they could take on the world’s largest wave.
Koxa’s record broke the previous record that was held by American surfer Garrett McNamara of 78 feet. He won the world record by an incredibly small two feet. Koxa is not finished though. He continues to head for the waters of Nazare in Portugal every year to try and beat his own record and surf higher and higher waves. He takes over 20 boards to the town to ensure he is equipped no matter what the swell brings.
We wish him the best of luck and hope that we are reporting on his latest record in November.