Less than a year after Hawaii native Garrett McNamara set what many believed to be an impossibly high bar in big wave surfing, Brazilian surfer Carlos Burle may have topped it.
On Monday, Burle took off on a mountain of a wave off the now-famous big wave spot of Nazare on Portugal's central coast. Initial estimates of the wave's height put it taller than the record set by McNamara in January, which was estimated to be around 100 feet tall.
McNamara holds the certified record for tow-in surfing a wave, also set at Nazare, for riding a 78-foot behemoth in 2011.
Whatever the final, official height of Burle's wave, it was a monster. Burle's ride also happened shortly after he rescued his friend and fellow big wave surfer Maya Gabriel, who nearly drowned trying to catch a wave.
Burle told Surfer Today: "It was luck. We never know when we will be catching the wave. I still hadn't surfed any wave and everyone had already had their rides. Maya almost died. For me, it was a big adrenaline moment to get back there after what happened."
When Anderson Cooper profiled McNamara about his Nazare ride in January, he also talked about surprise and luck when he caught the giant wave.
"I didn't realize it was that big of a wave until it came down from above and just boom right on my shoulders and it almost squashed me. I almost collapsed," said McNamara.
Big wave surfing has a small but dedicated set of adrenaline junkies chasing giant swells all over the world. Several have died in recent years.
When McNamara was interviewed on "CBS This Morning" about the sport, he said standing on a mountain of water "taunting" the avalanche chasing him is when he is most comfortable. The danger-chasing McNamara said, however, that he won't get on a horse.