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Enever’s Record-Setting Ride Measured at 43.6 Feet (13.3 Metres) Photo: Daniel Russo

Laura Enever enters the Guinness World Records for paddling into the largest wave ridden by a female

The Narrabeen fan favourite has etched herself into the history books.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

If you checked the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper this morning, you would have seen pro-surfing’s very own Laura Enever gracing its cover with the text “Big Wave Hunter”. 

The Guinness World Records confirmed that Laura made history for her paddle-ride at the North Shore Outer Reef in January this year . We assume the world record achievement is a career-high for the 31-year-old who has become a WSL commentator after a solid career on Tour and chasing swells worldwide.

We caught up with Laura earlier this year, where the fearless Aussie recounted her experience paddling into the 13-metre monster at an outer reef on the North Shore. 

Laura Enever for Australian of the year? What do you reckon guys?

Below is the WSL’s statement on the historical ride, which also provides clarity on the measurement process and why it takes so damn long:

“The World Surf League (WSL) announces that Laura Enever (AUS) has set a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for the Largest wave surfed paddle-in (female). The WSL officially analyzed, measured, and verified Enever’s 2023 record-breaking ride at 43.6 feet (13.3 meters) as part of the WSL Big Wave Record Chase, making it the biggest wave ever paddled into by a woman. 

Enever, who is 31 years old and from North Narrabeen, Australia, successfully surfed a wave measuring 43.6 feet (13.3 meters) from trough to crest at Outer Reef, the big-wave break on the North Shore of Oahu, on January 22, 2023. 

“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.

“I would never be in this position if it wasn’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. 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.”

Enever’s World Record adds to an already stellar surfing career. She was the ISA Junior World Champion and Triple Crown Rookie of the Year in 2008, and World Junior Champion in 2009. In 2011, Enever qualified for the WSLChampionship Tour, where she competed for seven years, consistently finishing in the Top 10. She has gone on to compete in WSL Big Wave events and push the limits of big wave surfing.

“Huge congratulations to Laura for this incredible achievement,” said Jessi Miley-Dyer, WSL Chief of Sport. “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.”  

Enever was awarded the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ certificate in her hometown of Narrabeen in New South Wales, Australia, where she celebrated the accomplishment with her family and friends. 

“I’ve worked my whole life to be a professional surfer and to be on the World Tour,” continued Enever. “I was there, and I gave that up for this pull and urge to surf big waves. I was just thinking I just wanted to go do this for me, and to be here today and to have a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for the biggest paddle, I can’t believe it.”

Enever’s record bettered Andrea Moller’s previous record by just one foot, which was caught on January 16, 2016, at Pe’ahi, Maui. Moller, an internationally recognized waterwomen, pioneer of big wave surfing, and respected paramedic, held the record for seven years. She was the first woman to paddle into a wave at Pe’ahi, the first woman to catch a wave in the prestigious Eddie Aikau big wave contest, and an advocate for equality and progression in big wave surfing. 

About the Measurement Process 

The WSL Science Team, led by Michal Pieszk, Senior Research and Development Engineer of the Kelly Slater Wave Company (KSWC), collaborated on the analysis of the largest waves ridden in the Paddle-In category during the 2022/23 WSL Big Wave Record Chase season. The team used a range of wave-measuring techniques using video footage, detailed information about the site, the location of the videographers and location of the wave, to determine the wave height 

Several frames from the video footage were extracted and geometrically corrected based on camera positions and angles. Using known objects such as jet skis and actual measurements of Enever’s body geometry, it was possible to calibrate the images for conversion from pixels to feet. The location of the trough and crest of the wave was determined from analysis of the video from two different angles.”

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