Photo courtesy Jorge Leal via World Surf League
Photo courtesy Jorge Leal via World Surf League

After 18-month delay, World Surf League and Guinness Book of World Records certify Sebastian Steudtner’s Nazare bomb the largest wave ever ridden!


While there has been much talk of the mythical 100-foot wave over the years, an HBO series even named The 100-Foot Wave, none has ever been surfed, or at least none surfed and documented. Measuring waves, you see, is a difficult business. One man’s trough is another man’s… something that rhymes with trough but isn’t trough.


But nothing is too tough for our World Surf League and, with the help of the Guinness Book of World Records and science, it was just revealed that German ace, and one-time Christian Fletcher punching bag, Christian Steudtner now officially holds the title of “biggest wave ever ridden,” a whopping 86-foot Nazare bomb.

Though how, exactly, was it measured?

A new The Washington Post expose reveals:

The standard (Adam) Fincham and his colleagues from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego and the Kelly Slater Wave Company settled on this year was Steudtner’s lower leg, from his heel to his kneecap.
“That distance does not change since you can’t bend your lower leg,” Fincham said.

The team asked Steudtner to measure that length, which effectively gave them a ruler for the image of the surfer’s ride.
The experts must study the image closely, accounting for distortions that might misrepresent the wave’s size. Different angles and cameras lenses could muddle the process.

To account for how to correct the images, Fincham traveled to Nazaré and stood at the locations where photos and videos of Steudtner’s ride were captured, calculating the camera angles and the distance of the camera to the wave face. He also interviewed the two photographers whose imagery was used to analyze the wave, learning more about the equipment they used and how they leveled their cameras.

With this information in hand, the analysis team used 3D modeling software to geometrically correct the photos and convert pixels to inches. Using the lower leg standard, they could begin to measure the wave from trough to crest.

You must recall Adam Fincham as the inventor of Kelly Slater’s wave pool technology.


Something we can all agree upon.


Pulitzer Prize-winning Bill Finnegan profiles tycoon-friendly Kai Lenny for the New Yorker, “(His) most elaborate billionaire bromance has been with Mark Zuckerberg. They went foiling together on Kauai, and the paparazzi caught Zuckerberg looking extra silly.”

And, among other revelations, Kai says, "The big-wave tour sucks" and "I want to surf like Ethan Ewing."

Seven years ago, Bill Finnegan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir Barbarian Days threw me under the bus of a two-day obsessive read. 

I’d dived into Finnegan’s work in the New Yorker before, including an excerpt from the book about his time as a kid in Hawaii (read here) and figured the memoir would be gently entertaining but not especially adventurous.

I imagined a writer with a loosely knotted bow-tie and a drooping moustache. A delicate New York gentleman, a flabby enthusiast.

I’d only penetrated three chapters into the book when we suddenly camping on Maui waiting for Honolua Bay to break and, shortly after, camping on the empty beach at Tavarua for a week and surfing a new discovery called Restaurants.

Finnegan entered my heart a little later when, via email, I asked how surfing could be reported better.

“What I do read is way too advertiser-friendly. BeachGrit seems to be an exception… Surfing is an unusual journalism niche because the interests of the surf industry, which very largely finances the surf media, are fundamentally at odds with the interests of most surfers… They want to ‘grow’ the sport. We’d like it to shrink, reducing crowds.”

The relationship soured, I believe, when Longtom wrote a stinging critique of his essay on Slater’s Lemoore pool, also for the New Yorker. 

Did you not ask about the business plan Bill? It really comes across like you were too busy admiring Kelly the “beautiful boy” whose looks have not deserted him.

Sorry Bill, your book was fab but the essay blew goats. Too much Slater Kool-Aid, not enough fact checking. 

Anyway, in the latest issue of the New Yorker Finnegan examines the life of Kai Lenny, the daring twenty-nine-year-old multi-discipline surfer from Maui.

We learn that his wife Molly is the sister of Dusty Payne, who was dismissive of the relationship with the SUP-riding Lenny, that he believes the big-wave tour is a joke, takes vitamins via an intravenous drip, he’d like to surf like Australian Ethan Ewing and he counts the world’s richest men as pals. 

Kai is discreet about his thing with tycoons. They want to be around him, tech titans especially. Sergey Brin, one of the founders of Google, wants to come out on Kai’s support boat at Mavericks? Sure. “He’s supercool,” Kai says. In 2019, he spent some time on Richard Branson’s private island in the Caribbean, where he taught Sir Richard to kitefoil—we know that mostly because Branson posted video on Facebook of the two of them. But Kai’s most elaborate billionaire bromance has been with Mark Zuckerberg. They went foiling together on Kauai, and the paparazzi caught Zuckerberg looking extra silly. Zuckerberg later described Kai as “magical,” and then introduced his big metaverse gaming play with, among other things, a cringe­worthy virtual-reality skit about foiling with Kai. Even so, Kai has nothing uncharitable to say about him.

Read, or listen, here. 

Open Thread: Live Chat Gender-Inclusive Final’s Day of the Great Wall Motors Sydney Surf Pro presented by Rip Curl!

Ask. Receive.

Ryan Callinan (pictured).
Ryan Callinan (pictured).

In eerie nod to “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” decapitated championship tour surfers roar through challenger series Sydney Pro feasting on hopes and dreams of children!


Kelly Slater. But also, do you have any further thoughts or feeling regarding the World Surf League’s much-derided (by the mainstream media) mid-season cut wherein any male championship tour surfer ranked 22 or lower, and any female championship tour surfer ranked 10 or lower, was told to pack their belongings and make their way into Margaret River’s picturesque vineyards where a surprise guillotine was waiting to lop off their heads?

Any last impressions?

Well, blood orgy over, the bodies were shipped across the Lucky Country to Snapper Rocks, Callum Robson, head still attached to shoulders, poked the corpses with a stick at the first “Challenger Series” event. The bodies were then rolled down to Sydney for the second “Challenger Series” event though something strange is happening. Something eerily similar to the very scary Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

The headless are riding again.

During the nightmarish round of sixteen, melon-free Morgan Cibilic was bested by young Kade “Ichabod Crane” Matson but Ryan Callinan disposed of Alex Ribeiro, Deivid Silva ate Jordan Couzinet and Leonardo Fioravanti stabbed Ketut Agus between the eyes.

Each horseman feasting on the hopes and dreams of children (save Alex Ribeiro whose hopes and dreams are aged and gamey).

The waves at the event were said to be “two foot and bumpy” with Silva telling reporters, “I have won this event before (2018) and I feel I can win again. The ocean conditions are very hard but these waves are really similar to what I surf on my home beaches in Brazil so I know I can surf well here, my equipment is specialised for these waves so let’s go for these final days.”


With enough Challenger Series points, it is thought that the living cadavers may just return to the Championship Tour, itself, and frighten the likes of Connor O’Leary.


Surfing’s reactionary core laid bare as Momentum Generation funnyman and Kelly Slater bandmate wades into trans-athlete imbroglio,“Stay out of women’s sports where you miraculously win after being an average performing man”

“Women’s sports is not a back-up plan.”

Some of surfing’s biggest stars, including Kelly Slater, have pushed back against transgender women competing in the gal’s div of sporting events, marking a profound shift in the prevailing winds of progressive tastes. 

A little more than a week after Sasha Jane Lowerson won her second Western Australian log title, winning the men’s division as Ryan Egan three years previous, and after it was revealed trans-skater Lillian Gallagher had dominated a Red Bull event in Nebraska, both Kelly Slater and Peter King have come out against trans-women competing in women’s sports. 

King, the former Momentum Generation pro surfer from La Jolla in California, and bandmate of Kelly Slater’s short-lived musical act The Surfers, wrote on Instagram. 

“Nobody hates transgenders. Do you thing. Stay out of women’s sports where you miraculously win after being an average performing man.

“Women’s sports is not a backup plan where you can’t win a trophy (And $) in the men’s division. 

“Leagues like WSL and sponsors like Red Bull will you now stand up to this now instead of harming women’s sports?” 

King’s argument falls flat when applied to multiple division winner Lowerson, of course, although works a litter better when framed against the career trajectories of New Zealand Olympian Laurel Hubbard and swimmer Lia Thomas. 

More importantly, what are your favourite tranny movies?

Mine are Boy Meets Girl and Tangerine, the trailers of both you can examine below, as well as various scenes on adult channels.