Rodrigio Koxa ‘KOXA BOMB’ on the biggest wave of his life in Nazare, Portugal on November 8, 2017 / Photo: Antonio Helio

Posted: November 16, 2017
Interview By: Eric Akiskalian / Towsurfer.com

Rodrigo Koxa / Photo: Eric Akiskalian/Towsurfer.com

Name: Rodrigo Koxa
Born: September 22, 1979
Height: 5’ 8”
Weight: 163lbs.
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Brown
Hometown: Guaruja, Sao Paulo
Current Residence: Guaruja, Sao Paulo
Sponsors: KOXA BOMB, Tent Beach, Travel Ace, Bullys, Spo, Akiwas, Silver Surf, Delirio Natural, Tomihama and Flex
Disciplines: Surf, Tow, Skate and Dive
Major Titles and Wins: XXL Finalist 2011/12 Biggest Wave and Worst Wipeout, Surfer Poll Worst Wipeout 2012 Code Red
Website: Rodrigokoxa.com.br
FB: RodrigoKoxa
Insta: RodgrigoKoxa
Manager: Fabio Maradei

Last weeks giant XXXL Atlantic ‘NAZARE BIG WEDNESDAY’ Swell in Portugal was like nothing I have ever experienced in all my years of big wave sessions. Without a PWC driver or safety team in place, I knew I was not going to be able to tow, but I wanted to be in the thick of it, to feel the ocean move and see it up close and personal. So I decided at the very minimum, I was going to jump on a ski and head out into the arena of gladiators and get the full heart-pounding experience. I can honestly say, I have never felt more alive, nervous, scared, humbled and in awe as I was at that very moment.

A 60′ wave gets ready to explode on the cliffs of Nazare as I make my way out to the lineup. / Photo Grab: GoPro

Last weeks giant XXXL Atlantic ‘NAZARE BIG WEDNESDAY’ Swell in Portugal was like nothing I have ever experienced in all my years of big wave sessions. Without a PWC driver or safety team in place, I knew I was not going to be able to tow, but I wanted to be in the thick of it, to feel the ocean move and see it up close and personal. So I decided at the very minimum, I was going to jump on a ski and head out into the arena of gladiators and get the full heart-pounding experience. I can honestly say, I have never felt more alive, nervous, scared, humbled and in awe as I was at that very moment.

When you’re out there staring down the line into those monster bowls, it’s very difficult to scale the size of these waves because each one breaks on a different peak and has its own temperament within the layout of the canyon’s ocean floor. On top of that, the winds were blowing hard with a northwest direction, but fortunately right into the guts of these massive left barrels creating plumes of off/side shore spray the length of football fields across the entire beach. I was about 200 yards out further from where the tow-in teams were racing for position when the sets came and the ocean was rolling mountains underneath me. Insane and timeless is how I can express this feeling. I could not believe the size of the waves in the photos that I saw after the session. Mind blowing and just to be out there in the mix, up close and experience one of the rawest most powerful forces of nature was so amazing and such a blessing. This for me, is living life to its fullest.

Game face as I’m heading closer to the Nazare lineup. / Photo Grab: GoPro

What a day for so many legends that were out there charging and setting the bar to new limits. Brazilian’s newest generation of big wave chargers, Lucas ‘Chumbo’ Chianca ended up back-dooring the left on one of the biggest waves of the day and packing the barrel. Lucas said, it was his biggest barrel ever and it just closed at the end, went black and it was like driving head-on into a wall. He laughed and said he can’t wait to do it again. Then, extreme body surfer Kalani Lattanzi decided to grab the rope and go for a monster on outside first peak only to get blown over the top. Too bad for him because he was probably getting ready to jump out of his straps and glide gracefully into an XXXL wave in bodysurf mode.

Others in the mix were, Antonio Silva, Pedro Calado, Felipe Cesarano, Everaldo Pato Teixeira, Marcos Monteiro, Alessandro Marciano, Nuno Santos, Marcelo Luna, Stephan Figueiredo, Maya Gabeira, Sebastian Steudtner, Garrett McNamara, Hugo Vau, Mick Corbett, Ross Clarke Jones, Jerome Sanyon, Fred David, Pierre Rollet, Justin Dupont, Axi Muniain, Nicole Pacelli, Jorge Pacelli, Rafael Tapia, Toby Cunningham, Glen Ovens, David Langer and a few others.

First Peak Lineup / Photo: Eric Akiskalian/Towsurfer.com

Then there was madman Andrew Cotton from the U.K. who attempted to backdoor the second peak on his backside, only to get blown to pieces and ended up with a fractured back. Fortunately for him, Toby Cunningham and Glyn Ovens were the first to retrieve him from the pounding beach break, then there were lifeguards and medics on the beach ready to deal with this horrific situation. He’s currently in rehab and reckons he will be back in the water within 6-8 weeks time. Legendary status for sure!

How big was it? 60’-80′ / 20-25 meters? A very subjective question and difficult to measure based on photo angle, the scale used for measuring and who’s doing the measuring. So I say, to each their own, bottom line, some of the biggest waves ever, were ridden on this day and maybe the biggest ever.

But one wave, in particular, stands out from all the WSL XXL Big Wave entries, from the thousands of photos taken and seen, from the entire session of this day. Quite possibly, in my opinion, Rodrigo Koxa from Brazil, ‘Koxa Bomb’ successfully rode the biggest wave during this session and to the channel. Thanks to the amazing driving by his partner Sergio Cosme. Some of the surfers have even said off the record, that this wave might even be the biggest wave ever towed out there.

I sat down with Rodrigo this morning in his backyard, overlooking the North Canyon Beach on this beautiful day to get his take on that session and his amazing wave of a lifetime.

KOXA BOMB / Photo: Antonio Helio

Rodrigo, can you tell us about the November 8th swell and how it compared to the others you have towed here in Nazare?

This was a very big swell but it was different from the others because the direction of the swell was a more perfect with a straight north-west direction which made these huge triangles and A-frames. The period was long like the others but the direction of the swell was so perfect for the canyon. This is what I had been dreaming about you know, big triangles with a strong northwest wind to hold the wave straight up and blow right into the left barrels. When it’s like this, you can take a different line, you can go straight down and even go deeper before you begin your bottom turn. You don’t need to turn right away and run for the shoulder. On this wave, I had the longest drop ever and for sure I call this wave, the biggest wave of my life for now.


Koxa talking about his wave. Click on image for the video clip.

How important is it to have your crew and team all working together for the common goal of safety while surfing the biggest waves here in Nazare?

This is the most important thing. My goal is always to make sure I have my team in place so that we all have a safe session and we go home to our families uninjured and alive. Without a solid and experienced team and crew, I would not feel confident enough to wait for the biggest set at first peak and ride those waves. When you have the crew that you trust and can rely on to do their part, you are inspired to be your best and ride the biggest waves you can find out there. So I want to thank all our team starting with my driver Sergio Cosme who put me on this perfect wave that I dreamed about. Then also for the commitment and brotherhood of the second rescue Antonio Silva, Joana Andrade, Langers and Karlos.

Watch Rodrigo Koxa’s entire ride of a lifetime.

It looks like you may have surfed one of the biggest waves ever towed into here in Nazare or possibly the biggest wave rode anywhere. Tell us about this wave and what was going on in your mind while you were dropping into this mountain. What were u thinking and feeling?

When I saw this huge set, the first thing I remember is my driver Sergio Cosme looking to me and saying, “This is a bomb, do you really want to go”? I said, “go go, fucking go.” Then I saw Sergio driving straight under the peak in the perfect spot of the wave. He was taking the perfect line to set me up and I just trusted that in this moment all will be good. It was the third wave of the set which was good for us because the wave was actually smoother and more groomed than the rest of the waves battered by the winds.

The angles were flying high with Rodrigo Koxa on this wave. / Photo: Rafael Riancho

Then, right before I let go of the rope, I pulled the handle hard to my side so I could get a solid release with speed. This helped me so I could run under the lip and when I felt the power of the wave I started to use my rail to make my bottom turn. At that second, I noticed how glassy it was in the bowl and I decided at that moment to go deeper and further straight down with a better line. That’s when I felt the most speed of the wave ever and my body was pulled in an upward direction as I was making a huge bottom turn using all of my weight on my rail. I have never felt that kind of speed and force before and I was not sure if I was going to be able to hold that line. I almost fell and at that moment it was the scariest for me when my arms were above my head. But thanks, God, I made it.

Koxa with his arms in the air as he holds on for the ride of his life. Photo: Raphael Alvim

Like a miracle, the wave stayed so smooth, the bowl was so big and as I drove thru my bottom turn, the bowl opens up even bigger. After that, everything turned dark because the shadow of the wave filled the sky and came over me. I remember thinking, “Oh my God”. Luckily I had enough speed and energy in the wave to run out ahead of it before the explosion caught up with me. Then I was racing for the channel where I was picked up right away. Man, that was so amazing and what a feeling.

The Nazare shadow upon Koxa as he drives hard of the bottom. / Photo: Raphael Alvim

Sergio Cosme is one of the best safety drivers in the lineup. Tell us about his driving abilities and commitment to safety.

Sergio Cosme is also a race car driver you know and he has so much sense of speed and timing. This makes it easy for him to be in the lineup as a driver and safety guy on the biggest days out there. He is one of the guys who want to make the place safe for all of us and he is very committed to every situation out there. He is one of the best drivers and I am so stoked to have him on our team. I can trust my life with him 100% every time we go out there on any size.

Rodrigo Koxa and Sergio Cosme Team Koxa Bomb / Photo: Eric Akiskalian/Towsurfer.com

How are you feeling now after riding the biggest wave of your life?

I feel so much gratitude and I feel so blessed for all the support from everyone. I am so happy because I have so much respect for this place and so many bad situations have happened to me here in the past. It has taken me three years to overcome a very bad situation that happened but this season I have trained hard and prayed for this special moment and now it came like the best dream ever.

It seems that this year the level of paddle and tow-surfing here in Nazare has gone to very extreme levels. Who are some of the surfers that are pushing the limits and are inspiring you to be your best?

First of all, Garrett Mcnamara is the hardest charger in the world and he’s a visionary for our sport. He shares his knowledge on how to surf this wave and how your team and safety should work together. I am always inspired by him for sure.

Lucas ‘Chumbo’ Chianca paddles the hardest on the biggest days and he is drawing the deepest and craziest lines behind the bowl when he is towing. He is doing shit that know one is doing and he will continue to keep raising the bar and blowing everyone’s mind.

Andrew Cotton is now trying to draw new crazy lines and push the limits as he attempts to backdoor the lefts on his backside. When I saw what happened to him during our session, I just prayed that he would be alright because he is such an amazing person and has done so much for our sport and Nazare. I have so much respect for him, Hugo and Garrett for always pushing the limits as hard as they can during every swell.

Then there’s Maya Gaberia who has made an amazing come back since her near-death drowning a few years ago. With Sebastian Steudtner as her driver, she was able to ride the biggest wave ever surfed by women during this session. So stoked that Sebastian has been so supportive of Maya and selfless in making sure she charges every swell while staying safe and confident.

Tell us about the B.W.R.A.G. – Big Wave Risk Assessment Group course that came to Nazare with Danilo Couto and Peter Conroy.

The training was amazing and to have all the crew together sharing all different scenarios and experiences was amazing. So stoked Danilo Couto and Peter Conroy came all the way over here from Hawaii and Ireland to share their knowledge and teach us things we did not know and give us a refresher course on the simple things we already know. We all learned new things, we trained together and it was great for all of us to be together for a common goal of improving our safety techniques and supporting each other. For me, it was cool because we felt close, like a family with so much love for each other.

B.W.R.A.G. – Big Wave Risk Assessment Group in Nazare


Koxa, Danilo and Peter B.W.R.A.G. Nazare Summit

What advise do you have for any surfers that want to come to Nazare for the first time as far as safety, logistics, and teamwork?

I suggest looking for people who have experience here and are doing it like my partner Sergio and some of the other locals. If u want to make your own team, you better train hard to see how this place works on smaller days before you go out on big days. It is better if you have your own ski(s) and equipment and invest in your team. Otherwise, you will be waiting on the beach for a while. This is a place that we all need to respect and take our time to figure it out.

Koxa outrunning the explosion and into the channel. Photo: Raphael Alvim

Thanks Koxa, love you brother and congrats on your biggest wave ever.

Yewwww, thanks Eric for all your support and what you do for our sport.

Rodrigo and his wife Aline and so happy to be heading home safe.

“This year Koxa came to Nazare focused and with more positive energy than ever. I felt he was mentally prepared and I am so stoked for him. From the photos I have seen, I think this was one of or the biggest wave of the day for sure.” – Kalani Lattanzi

KOXA Bomb Team – L to R / Sergio, Koxa, and Kalani – Nazare, Portugal – Photo: Eric Akiskalian/Towsurfer.com

Cover Photo: Antonio Helio


For an amazing meal check out Sitio dos Petiscos in Nazare.

Special thanks to the following:

  • Garrett McNamara
  • Azhiaziam
  • Quatic Apparel
  • Jeff Clark Inflatable Surf Vest
  • Stay Covered
  • Futures Fins
  • Dakine
  • Patagonia
  • Nazare Informa
  • Big Sur Bar
  • Praia do Norte
  • Municipio da Nazare
  • B.W.R.A.G.
  • Nazare Water Fun
  • Mercedes Bens Portugal
  • Sitio dos Petiscos
  • Sonya Jardim
  • Quiksilver
The end of another beautiful and amazing day here in Nazare, Portugal / Photo: Eric Akiskalian / Towsurfer.com

(C) Towsurfer.com 2017