"I shoot across the wave at 80 kilometres an hour and concentrate 100 percent. I don't think about the past, the present and the future."
The German big-wave surfer Sebastian Steudtner has joined forces with Porsche in a bid to strengthen his grip on the Guinness World Record for largest wave ridden.
In 2020, Sebastian Steudtner, incorrectly referred to as Christian Steudtner by BeachGrit for many years, rode a whopping 86-foot Nazare bomb, its height certified by Kelly Slater Surf Ranch inventor Adam Fincham.
“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,” explained The Washington Post.
Steudtner’s approach to big waves was simple, “I shoot across the wave at 80 kilometres an hour and concentrate 100 percent. I don’t think about the past, the present and the future. I’m in the flow. I don’t have time to think ‘wow, this wave is beautiful’.”
The handsome German, who is thirty-eight and from Nuremberg, famous in the thirties and forties for its lavish Hitler rallies and for the post-World War II trials that strung up as many of the bastards as the Allies could find, is a three-time winner of the XXL Biggest Wave award (2010, 2015, 2021).
(Readers might recall Christian Fletcher, son of surf pioneer Herbie, telling the awards audience, “And the winner is… Sebastian? The fucking German guy who can’t paddle?!”)
Now, Steudtner has combined with Porsche and autoparts specialist Schaeffler to build a surfboard he hopes will help him smash his 86-foot record.
The surfboard, which is painted a pleasing yellow and black, has a special friction reducing coating and has a special nose, tail and edge shapes to improve hydrodynamics.
“To reduce drag and stabilise the board, patented attachments known as aero edges were added to the front and back of the board”, explains Marcus Schmelz, Project Manager at Porsche Engineering. “We know this principle from automobiles: here, too, tear-off edges are defined, for example through the use of spoilers. They reduce air turbulence, making the car more stable and aerodynamic at high speeds.”
Beyond the structural changes to the board, aerodynamics tests in the Porsche wind tunnel also found other potential optimisations: adapting Sebastian’s body position while surfing and optimised equipment also produce significantly lower drag.
Steudtner’s new board was dubbed the “Caçador RS”. The name is a combination of the Portuguese word “Caçador” (hunter) and the classic Porsche designation “RS”, which is reserved for the sportiest Porsche models. With his new surfboard, Steudtner can now set off in pursuit of the next world record.
With his team of thirty, which includes special army doctors, Sebastian Steudtner now faces the challenge of his life.
“I’ll have to give my best,” he says.