Big water at Nazaré; (photo/Luis Ascenso via Wiki Commons)

Biggest Wave Ever Surfed? Watch Mason Barnes Shred Legendary Swell

Mason Barnes started out as a grom skater, learning from his former pro skater dad, Reggie. Fast forward a few years, and he’s in the running for a Guinness World Record in big-wave surfing.

Mason Barnes started surfing when he was 12. It’s safe to say he jumped into the sport with both feet. He got on big water right away after being introduced to it by legendary big-wave surfer Garrett McNamara.

Now, 15 years later, Barnes may have ridden the biggest wave that anyone’s ever surfed in recorded history.


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The holy grail of big wave is to surf (and survive) a 100-footer. Currently, the unofficial record is a 101.4-footer that António Laureano took on at Nazaré in 2021. If the Guinness Book of World Records confirms Barnes’ wave, it could set the new benchmark.

Measuring big waves is not an exact science; while it does rely on the scientific method, it’s ultimately a subjective call. The World Surf League works with the Guinness World Records on cases like Barnes’ that might make history.

The method is simple enough. The known is that Barnes is 6’2″ tall — by comparison, his Nazaré wave could well be a 100-footer.

Either way, it’s an astonishing video to watch. Stare into it for a few seconds, and it almost seems to get bigger as it breaks.

Too bad the editors (looking at you, Mason) dubbed the outro from M83’s 2011 album “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” over the sound. The roar that beast made could probably rattle your windows through your phone speaker.

Runtime: 28 seconds

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Sam Anderson

Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.