Porsche and Steudtner Unveil Wave-Measuring Drone in Big Wave Surfing Quest

In a groundbreaking collaboration, German big wave surfer Sebastian Steudtner has teamed up with Porsche Engineering to develop a state-of-the-art drone capable of precisely measuring the height of massive waves. This technological advancement aims to bring greater transparency and accuracy to the world of big wave surfing, reports Surfer Today.

Pushing the Limits in Big Wave Surfing

Big wave surfing has become an increasingly competitive and lucrative industry, with athletes constantly pushing their limits to ride bigger and heavier waves. Steudtner, the current Guinness World Record holder for the largest wave ever surfed, is no exception. With the help of a multidisciplinary team, he has set his sights on surfing waves twice the size of his current record.

Drone Technology Revolutionizes Wave Measurement

The joint technology project between Team Steudtner and Porsche has yielded a prototype drone equipped with cameras, control units, storage devices, and sensors. This innovative device can measure all areas of a wave and track the surfer within a radius of about 100 meters.

Marcus Schmelz, Project Manager at Porsche Engineering, expressed his satisfaction with the project's outcome, stating, “We are very pleased to have created an innovative solution that can advance the sport of surfing. It was a challenge to develop a drone that can measure not only the height of the waves but is also capable of tracking the surfer within the radius throughout the entire wave ride.”

Steudtner's Potential New World Record

Using the drone, Porsche Engineering measured one of Steudtner's recent waves at Nazaré, , on February 24, 2024, at an astonishing 93.73 feet (28.57 meters). This measurement surpasses Steudtner's current world record of 86.4 feet (26.21 meters), which he achieved at the same location in 2020.

Schmelz added, “We are open to sharing our technical insights from the drone development with official experts. Our goal is to further increase transparency in big wave surfing and to provide accurate measurement data more quickly.”

Mission Wave Alpha: Steudtner's Ultimate Goal

Steudtner's ambitious project, Mission Wave Alpha, aims to get him surfing waves twice the size of the current world record, reaching heights of 130-160 feet (40-50 meters). With the support of multinational corporations like Porsche, Schaeffler, and O2 , Steudtner and his team have developed cutting-edge surfboard technology to help him achieve this feat.

The new “Caçador RS” surfboard, developed in partnership with Porsche Engineering and Schaeffler, has reduced water and air resistance, allowing Steudtner to reach speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour. This speed advantage is crucial for riding larger waves, as the taller a wave is, the faster the surfer must be to avoid being overrun.

Sebastian Steudtner's custom-designed surfboard, the "Caçador RS," developed in collaboration with Porsche, is capable of achieving speeds up to 100 kilometers per hour, enabling him to tackle the world's largest waves. | Photo credit Porsche
Sebastian Steudtner's custom-designed surfboard, the “Caçador RS,” developed in collaboration with Porsche, is capable of achieving speeds up to 100 kilometers per hour, enabling him to tackle the world's largest waves. | Photo credit Porsche

Steudtner expressed his pride in the project, saying, “I am very proud to be able to bring big wave surfing to the next level through the development of safety and technology and by believing in my dream. Together with my team, which is driven by its unique ‘can do' mindset to define possible in big-wave surfing, we were able to accomplish this mission.”

As the race for the world's largest wave ever surfed continues, with other contenders like Lucas “Chumbo” Chianca also claiming potential records, Steudtner and his team remain at the forefront of innovation and pushing the boundaries of what is possible in big wave surfing.


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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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