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Here’s what made that record-breaking surf so remarkable, according to one local surfer

The World Surf League says Rodrigo Koxa has ridden the biggest wave ever surfed. At the group’s Big Wave Awards in Santa Monica, California, on Saturday, it said its judges determined that a wave Koxa surfed at Naraze, Portugal, on Nov. 8 was 80 feet
The World Surf League says Rodrigo Koxa has ridden the biggest wave ever surfed. At the group’s Big Wave Awards in Santa Monica, California, on Saturday, it said its judges determined that a wave Koxa surfed at Naraze, Portugal, on Nov. 8 was 80 feet

Hoyt Hottel has been surfing on the East Coast for over 30 years, but says he has never surfed a wave even a quarter of the size of the 80-foot wave in Portugal that was called a record-breaker on Saturday.

The wave was conquered by Brazilian surfer Rodrigo Koxa in Nazare, Portugal, last November but wasn't named a record until Saturday during the World Surf League Big Wave Awards in Santa Monica, Calif.

Hottel, owner of Xtremely Board surf shop in Dartmouth, said surfers in New England typically don't get to surf a wave taller than 10 or 15 feet, so riding an 80-foot wave is something he "can not imagine."

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"If you have prepared for many years and you have a team that's also prepared, you can look forward to something like that," Hottel said. "The average surfer around here only puts himself in a scary situation a few times a year. It's nowhere near that size."

Hottel said bigger waves are harder to surf because they move faster.

"Waves slow down as they hit shore," he said .An 80-foot wave "moves through the water at 25 miles an hour and you can't paddle that fast. If you miscalculate, you're done."

Matt Colby, surfer and part time manager at Cinnamon Rainbows Surf Co. in Hampton, N.H., said for him, a wave of about 15 feet is intimidating.

"Those guys are a different sort of breed of surfers — these big waves guys," Colby said. "Growing up in New England surfing, I have been lucky enough to travel to other spots in the world, but I can't imagine surfing anything that big."


Laney Ruckstuhl can be reached at laney.ruckstuhl@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @laneyruckstuhl.