Just minutes after saving the life of his female partner in giant surf off Portugal, Carlos Burle streaked down the face of what might end up being the largest wave ever ridden.
According to some reports, the wave face measured about 100 feet, a mark that tow-surfers (who are pulled onto waves behind personal watercraft) set years ago as a target many thought was unachievable.
The enormous surf was generated by the St. Jude's Storm and lured some of the world's top big-wave surfers to Nazare, Portugal, to ride the massive and dangerous peaks.
Before Burle's ride, Maya Gabeira, who is the world's premier female big-wave charger, suffered a wipeout and would have drowned were it not for Burle, who performed a prolonged and dramatic rescue on his jet-powered vessel.
Gabeira was pulled from the water unconscious and with a broken ankle. Burle performed CPR on the athlete before she was rushed to a hospital. Later on Monday she stated on her Facebook page: "Thank you for caring … a broken ankle, but nothing more! I'm recovering well. Please continue cheering."
Although Burle's ride has been reported on network morning shows and in other media reports as a 100-footer and a probable world record, that has not yet been determined.
Bill Sharp, who runs the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards, has told Guinness World Records that rides from other surfers at Nazare on Monday are being considered for entry to Guinness as "Largest Wave Surfed," and that the XXL judging panel won't make a determination until the XXL season is complete in late April, 2014.
"The Carlos Burle wave will be under serious consideration this year because it definitely broke with power and satisfied all the criteria established in the XXL rules, whereas some other rides which gained media attention at the same venue last season did not," Sharp stated. "The XXL rules carefully differentiate between a real breaking wave of consequence and an ocean swell which might rear up for a moment yet never actually break with whitewater chasing the rider.
"The Burle wave at Nazare yesterday (along with rides by Andrew Cotton, Felipe Cesarano, Pedro Viana, Maya Gabeira, and others) definitely met the established criteria that set the base of the wave as being that lowest point on the wave face that either the surfer or the breaking whitewater would reach, and will be judged accordingly."
Hawaii's Garrett McNamara currently holds the world record for successfully negotiating a 78-foot wave, also at Nazare, in November of 2011.
–Pete Thomas, via GrindTv Surf
–Top image is a screen shot of Carlos Burle surfing what could be a world-record-breaking wave
--Bottom photo shows Maya Gabeira recovering in a hospital