The 5 biggest waves surfed in the past year

We’re in the final countdown to the biggest night in big-wave surfing: the World Surf League Big Wave Awards. The nominees for all categories are well worth a look, but for now, we decided to break down the Biggest Wave category.

It’s not an easy thing to judge waves after the fact by size, but SURFER recently pointed out that the wave heights do come from simply measuring.

Kai Lenny on his Jaws mutant. Photo: Courtesy of Fred Pompermeyer/WSL

Get a rundown on the biggest category of Saturday below. And be sure to tune in to GrindTV social feeds for live coverage of the Big Wave Awards, taking place this Saturday in Huntington Beach, California. You can also watch the awards show live on

1. Trevor Carlson, Nazaré

Trevor Carlson’s big-time Nazaré wave. Photo: Courtesy of Vitor Estrelinha/WSL

Despite Trevor Carlson’s Nazaré bomb being the only nominee in the category to not be caught on video, it’s still one of the more impressive waves. You can barely see the speck that is Carlson as he glides down the mountain of Portuguese water.

2. Kai Lenny, Jaws

If you’re looking for an example of the chatter that big-wave surfers have to deal with on massive waves, look no further than this Jaws beast that Kai Lenny tames. With a couple big turns, Lenny surfs this wave like it’s more than half the size it actually is.

3. Francisco Porcella, Nazaré

Francisco Porcella had himself quite a winter. The Italian big-wave charger turned heads, whether it was going for broke and wiping out or being on what could possibly be the biggest wave ever ridden at Nazaré (seen here).

4. Sebastian Steudtner, Nazaré

German surfer Sebastian Steudtner certainly did not acquire these big-wave riding skills in the rivers of Germany. However, based on his performance, he looks like someone who has been doing this for quite a long time.

5. Hugo Vau, Nazaré

Yet another entry from Nazaré, the final nomination goes to native Portuguese Hugo Vau. It’s not a surprise that four of the five biggest waves from the past year came at Nazaré.

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