Surfer rescues friend before possibly setting world record

(CBS News) Brazilian surfer Carlos Burle may have set a world record for the highest wave ever ridden. The monster waves are generated off the coast of Portugal by being forced out of an underwater canyon onto the beach at Praia del Norte.

The waves are so powerful that the surfers have to be towed by jet skis to get the necessary speed to catch one. The jet skis are also the rescue vehicles.

Fellow Brazilian rider Maya Gabeira fell and was pulled out of the sea, unconscious, by Burle. She survived and Burle went back into the water. He said his record-breaking stunt was karma for his good deed.

"At the end I asked to catch a wave when everyone was leaving and picked up a good wave," he said in Portuguese, "I think that was the reward."

The confirmed record of 78-feet is held by American Garrett McNamara. Earlier this year McNamara told "CBS This Morning" how he manages to break the fear barrier.

"Everyone has their comfort zones, I won't jump out of an airplane, and I won't ride a horse," he said. "I like big waves, that's where I'm comfortable."

Calculating the size of waves is a complex process. McNamara is waiting for confirmation he broke his own record by riding a 100-foot plus wave in January, a record Burle may broken before it is even official.

However, challenging the biggest waves in the world isn't a competitive sport. The surfers don't need the thrill of victory over each other, they win when they end the day together, on the beach, watching for the next big one.