When you hear of some of the records set in the world of sport today, they are often incomprehensible. To think of the athletes that achieve these miracles is not to think of people like you and I. They must not sleep like us, they surely don’t eat like you and me, they can not possibly think the same. Yet in reality, though, they do. To achieve the records they do they must have incredible levels of drive and courage. None more so than Rodrigo Koxa who set the world record for the largest wave ever surfed.
I don’t want to compare records and figure out which is the best achievement but I will say that I can think of nothing scarier than trying to surf an 80-foot wave. Imagine the white water starting to break behind you like a ton of bricks and the wall growing ever larger as you are captured in its shadow. It grows and bellows as it is about to swallow you up and spit you out. This is not a walk in the park, this is extreme sports at their most extreme.
Rodrigo Koxa has since talked about breaking the record and how difficult it was for him. Two years previously he had attempted a big wave in Nazare (now famous for the biggest of big wave surfing) and it had eaten him alive. He suffered from PTSD following the event. He had countless nightmares of being thrashed by the waves and hurdled into rocks. He thought that he was just not good enough for everything he had dreamed to be. He went to a dark and depressing place but his friends and fellow surfers helped him back.
He slowly recovered his confidence and knew he had to go back to Nazare. When he went back his mind was still and his fear was gone. A wave approached and he went for it. As it came for him. He knew by the shadow building and the noise he heard that it was larger than he had ever seen before. Yet he was so focused on the wave and what he needed to do, the fear never returned. He surfed the wave straight down and was soon to be placed in the Guinness book of records. When asked what Koxa wanted to do next, his answer was simple. Find bigger waves.