Laura Enever: taking off on a 43.6-foot wave on the North Shore of Oahu's Outer Reef | Photo: Hank/WSL

Laura Enever set a new Guinness World Record (GWR) for the largest paddle-in wave ever ridden by a female surfer.

On January 22, 2023, the Australian athlete surfed a 43.6 feet (13.3 meters) wave at Outer Reef on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.

"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," said Enever.

"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 special and monumental in my surf career."

"To get awarded this months later is really cool. I can't believe it."

Pushing Women's Limits

The title for the biggest wave ever paddled into by a woman was in the hands of Andrea Moller, who rode a 42-foot wave on January 16, 2016, at Jaws/Peahi in Maui, Hawaii.

The Brazilian-American waterwomen, pioneer of big wave surfing and respected paramedic, held the record for seven years.

At the time, she was the first woman to paddle into a wave at Peahi and the first woman to catch a wave in the prestigious Eddie Aikau big wave contest.

Moller has also been an advocate for equality and progression in big wave surfing.

"I would never be in this position if it weren't for all the big wave surfers who have come before me and paved the way, especially the really brave, courageous females who have always inspired me and made me feel like I could get out there and give it a crack," added Enever.

"So, thank you to all the amazing women. 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."

An Accomplished Surfer

The Guinness World Record holder received the famous certificate in her hometown of Narrabeen in New South Wales, Australia, where she celebrated the accomplishment with her family and friends.

At 31, Laura Enever is already an experienced surfer with a long surfing career.

She won the ISA World Junior Surfing Championship title and the Triple Crown Rookie of the Year award in 2008.

In 2009, she claimed the ASP World Junior Championships.

Two years later, Enever qualified for the Championship Tour (CT), where she competed for seven years.

Recently, the Sydney surfer has been focusing and specializing in big wave surfing.

The Guinness World Record for the largest wave ever surfed by a woman is held by Maya Gabeira after riding a 73.5-foot wave in Nazaré, Portugal.

Laura Enever: holding the Guinness World Record certificate surrounded by family and friends | Photo: WSL

Measuring World Record Waves

During the 2022/2023 season of the WSL Big Wave Record Chase, the science division of the WSL, with Michal Pieszk from the Kelly Slater Wave Company (KSWC) in the lead as the senior R&D engineer, engaged in a comprehensive study on some of the season's biggest waves surfed in the paddle-in division.

This investigation employed various methodologies for gauging wave heights, incorporating video analysis, in-depth knowledge of the event site, and the positions of both the camerapersons and the waves themselves to ascertain the size of the waves.

The team processed multiple video stills, adjusting them according to the camera orientations and placements.

Reference points, such as the dimensions of jet skis and the physical proportions of Laure Enever, were utilized to scale the imagery from pixel measurements to actual feet.

The precise positions of the wave's peak and its base were pinpointed through the examination of footage taken from two distinct perspectives.

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