The largest wave ever surfed measured at 80 feet and was ridden by Rodrigo Koxa back in 2017.
To put that into perspective, it’s roughly the size of four 2-story houses stacked on top of one another.
It was an epic accomplishment for Koxa, and the fact that humans can ride 80-foot waves is an achievement for mankind on the whole.
But it pales in comparison to the biggest wave ever recorded, one that would destroy the best big wave surfers.
What is the Biggest Wave Ever Recorded?
The biggest wave recorded by humans measured at a staggering 1,720 feet.
The giant wave occurred in Lituya Bay, near Alaska, and was the result of a megatsunami.
It began with an earthquake on the Fairweather Fault, located in the heart of Lituya Bay.
The quake triggered a megatsunami that was somewhere between 100 and 300 feet, but the breaking waves that followed were much bigger and eventually peaked at 1,720 feet.
For perspective, the Empire State Building is only 1,250 feet.
There were three fishing boats in Lituya Bay at the time of the wave.
Fishermen in two of these boats actually surfed the wave while two individuals in the third boat lost their lives.
We say “surfed”, but “carried” is probably a better description.
How Was the Giant Wave Measured?
Only a few fishermen witnessed the big wall of water, and they weren’t really in a position to reach for their measuring tape and get to work.
So, how do we know this was actually the tallest tsunami and the biggest wave?
These records come from the landscape, or rather, the damage left behind by the Lituya Bay tsunami.
We know, for instance, that trees were ripped from their roots at elevations of up to 1,720 feet.
In fact, the damage was so severe that millions of trees were uprooted and swept away.
By the same token, we know it wasn’t much bigger because of the lack of damage at higher elevations.