Shawn Dollar: paddle-in world record wave

The Guinness World Records have officially certified Shawn Dollar's 61-foot wave, at the Cortes Bank, off the coast of California, as a new paddle-in world record.


The 30-year-old resident of Santa Cruz, California, caught the superlative wave on December 21, 2012 during a terrifying session at the Cortes Bank, a notorious offshore hazard to shipping located over 100 miles west of San Diego in international waters.

A panel of experts measured the wave at 61 feet on the face. Dollar caught the wave using only human paddle power, yet it turned out to be bigger than any waves caught by any means in the last year - including those caught with the use of jet ski assists.

"Is this really happening? Are we really paddling into waves bigger than what we used to tow? It's surreal, it's such an honor", asked Dollar at the Billabong XXL Awards ceremony.

"It's hard to put numbers on those things, but it was the biggest wave I've ever seen in my life," he added.

This is not Dollar's first visit to the Guinness Records pages. In 2010 he rode a wave at Maverick's off Half Moon Bay, California which was measured at 55 feet and surpassed the previous best set by Taylor Knox in Mexico in 1998.

Dollar's first tenure as a record holder was short-lived, however, when Hawaiian surfer Shane Dorian bettered the mark with a 57-footer at Jaws, Maui the following year.

The record for the largest wave ever surfed belongs to Garrett McNamara, when he rode a wave face of 78 feet (23,7 metres), in Nazaré, Portugal.

Discover the biggest waves ever ridden and the best wave surfers in the world.