Australian surfer Laura Enever opens up about her 13.3m world-record surf in Hawaii
Aussie big-wave hunter Laura Enever has broken the world record for the largest wave surfed by a female after tackling an enormous wall of water in Hawaii
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It’s the wave Australian surfer Laura Enever waited 30 years to ride.
For two hours she played cat and mouse* with the monster swells* at Oahu’s Outer Reef, the well-known big-wave location on the Hawaiian island’s North Shore, until a little voice in her head whispered: “This is it. Time to go.”
Seconds later she was riding an enormous 13.3m wave before being swallowed up by a wall of crashing water. Her world blinked to black and she was sent spinning into the dark depths.
The whole time Enever, 31, was tumbling underwater, she was smiling.
Enever didn’t know it at that moment in January this year, but she had just made her way into the Guinness World Record books on the largest wave paddled-in* and surfed by a female. She broke the previous record set by Andrea Moller seven years earlier.
“I remember saying, ‘I just got the best wave of my life’ but because I didn’t have any documentation* of it, for the next few days it was just a cool moment I had with myself that I got to tell everyone about,” she said.
The former World Junior Champion from NSW spent seven years on the World Surf League Championship Tour before giving it all up to chase big-wave thrills.
That adrenaline* addiction led her to that wave in Hawaii.
A message hit her Instagram inbox four days later with an image of Enever surfing down the towering* wall of water.
It came with a caption: “I think this is the biggest wave ever paddled by a woman.”
“My jaw dropped,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it was me on that wave.”
By April, Enever had collected a series of photos and video of her amazing ride. She sent them into the World Surf League as part of its Big Wave Record Chase.
The Chase, with a prize pool of $770,000, was created to encourage surfers to seek out world records across the paddle-in and tow-in* big-wave categories.
They pulled still images from the video footage, and using known measurements that included nearby jet skis and Enever’s own body, the height of her wave was confirmed.
This week, she entered the Guinness World Records.
“I had Guinness World Record books every Christmas when I was a kid,’’ Enever said. “Mum would always get them for me, so this is pretty surreal*.
“When I left the (Championship) Tour for my love of big-wave surfing, I didn’t do it to chase records or awards.
“For me, big-wave surfing is about pushing myself, finding my way around the line-up and connecting with the ocean to put myself on a big, beautiful wave.
“That day was so scary,” Enever said of the record-setting wave. “It was so much bigger than anyone anticipated
“When I caught that wave I knew it was the biggest I had ever caught but I didn’t know how big it was. I didn’t even think about the world record.”
- cat and mouse: to chase something in a cunning way
- swells: collections of waves
- paddled-in: when a surfer paddles the board to the top of a wave to ride it
- documentation: material that provides official proof of something
- adrenaline: a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands that increases rates of blood circulation, breathing, and prepares muscles for exertion
- towering: extremely tall
- tow-in: when a surfer uses a jetski to be towed to the top of a wave to surf it.
- surreal: bizarre or strange
1. Where is the reef where Laura Enever broke the world record?
2. How did they calculate the height to know it was a record?
3. Why was the Big Wave Record Chase created?
4. What attracts Enever to big-wave surfing?
5. What did Enever previously do for seven years?
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1. What Evidence Would You Need?
Imagine that you are a judge for the Guinness World Records. What evidence, apart from photographs, do you think that big wave surfers would need to show to prove that they have paddled in a surfed the biggest wave? Write a list.
Time: allow at least 15 minutes to complete this activity.
Curriculum Links: English, Health and Physical Education.
''This is it. Time to go.''
Be inspired by Laura Enever and write a story starting with these words. Your story should be about an amazing adventure, achieving a goal or doing something really difficult.
Time: allow at least 25 minutes to complete this activity.
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and Creative Thinking.
1. BAB it!
Show you have read and understood the article by writing three sentences using the connectives “because’’, “and”, and “but” (BAB). Your sentences can share different facts or opinions, or the same ones but written about in different ways.