*Update: Guinness World Records approved the record Tuesday morning, a day after this post went live.
Garrett McNamara will soon be listed by Guinness World Records as having ridden a larger wave than any other surfer, stealing that distinction from Mike Parsons.
A mere foot separates the 78-foot wave ridden by McNamara last November at Nazaré, Portugal (see top image), and the 77-footer conquered by Parsons in 2008 at Cortes Bank off Southern California.
That was the verdict, anyway, issued Friday night by an expert panel that determined winners for the annual Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards, which honor surfers for various accomplishments during a 12-month period.
A spokeswoman for Guinness World Records said McNamara's record would be approved once documentation is received, and XXL contest director Bill Sharp submitted documentation Monday afternoon.
Said McNamara, after being named winner of the Biggest Wave category: "It's amazing we get to do what we do, I am so grateful. The world record doesn't mean as much to me, this is for the town of Nazaré and Portugal and for all my family and friends there.
"To be able to give them something to be proud of and inspire them... I didn't want to get caught up in it all, but I have to tell you the truth, when they announced my name I got a bigger rush than probably on all the waves I rode this year."
Parsons might wish to visit the Guinness surfing link for a screen-grab, before his name is replaced by that of McNamara. As of 7 p.m. Monday, Parsons was still the record holder. His fans might still consider him to have ridden a bigger wave, but the XXL panel has spoken.
For the sake of comparison, click on this link to view images of Parson's ride, and videotape of McNamara's ride below. It's close, no matter how many times you may look.