There is a new world record holder in surfing as 31-year-old Laura Enever has officially caught the biggest wave ever paddled into by a woman.
Australian surfer Enever made her attempt back in January at Outer Reef on the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii but the record-breaking effort was only confirmed by the World Surf League (WSL) and Guinness World Records on Thursday.
On the day Enever broke the record she was second alternate at the prestigious Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational meaning she would only take part in the competition if two women were injured.
That event was held on a break close to the beach so the Australian, and her friend Felicity Palmateer, decided to surf in the Outer Reef where the deeper ocean meets the sea floor and the world record was broken.
Enever says she knew the moment was big as she paddled out and after catching the 13.3-metre-high (43.6-feet) wave she realised it was the largest wave she’d ever ridden.
“I knew it was big when I paddled into it and then when I took off I looked down and I knew it was definitely the biggest wave I’ve ever caught,” she said,
“I knew it was the wave of my life, the whole way it all came together and the way I committed, backed myself, told myself to go, and trusted I could do it.
“The ride was such a breakthrough for me and a moment that will be really special and monumental in my surf career. To get awarded this months later is really cool, I can’t believe it.””
The Australian world record breaker spent seven seasons on the WSL championship tour before deciding to pursue big wave surfing.
A paddle-in approach requires surfers to enter waves unassisted, compared to being towed-in by a jet-ski which is what big wave surfers tend to do in order to access the biggest breaks.
Enever passed the previous record – set by Brazilian Andrea Moller in 2016 – by less than a metre and paid credit to the former record-holder saying she would not be in this position without her.
She added: “Thank you to all the amazing women and I’m just constantly in awe,
“Andrea Moller held this record before me and it’s an honor to hold that record and keep pushing big wave surfing. And I know that the next girls, the next generation of female big wave surfers are going to do the same.”
WSL Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer said: “Huge congratulations to Laura for this incredible achievement,
“Laura is fearless, committed, and a real inspiration, and I’m so proud to celebrate her. These world records really allow us to shine the spotlight on athletes like Laura who are pushing the boundaries of Big Wave surfing.”