Surfer Garrett McNamara Rides 78ft Wave to World Record [Video]

Garrett McNamara has taken the Guinness World Record for the largest wave ever surfed having ridden a 78-foot tall break off the coast of Portugal in November.

According to the experts at the annual Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards, McNamara, 44, beat the previous record held since 2008 by surfing legend Mike Parson by just one foot.

“It’s amazing we get to do what we do, I am so grateful. The world record doesn’t mean as much to me, this is for the town of Nazaré and Portugal and for all my family and friends there,” said McNamara at the Billabong awards ceremony in Anaheim, California.

He went on: “To be able to give them something to be proud of and inspire them… I didn’t want to get caught up in it all, but I have to tell you the truth, when they announced my name I got a bigger rush than probably on all the waves I rode this year.”

Big-wave surfer of Haleiwa, on Oahu’s North Shore, proudly revealed that the ride of his life was a fluke.

He also confessed that originally he didn’t want to attempt the waves that day after wiping out numerous times on even bigger swells in the same spot, above an undersea canyon known as one of the biggest wave-generators on the planet, reports The Huff Post.

“I was really beat-up that morning,” he said. “This day, I did not want to get out of bed.” However, the brave man changed his mind at the urging of friends, once they got into the ocean and he helped others catch a few waves. “Everything came together,” McNamara said Thursday. “Everything felt right.”

The video shows McNamara against a wall of water as he lets go of a tow rope and begins riding down the wave at Praia do Norte. During the run the sportsmen briefly disappears into the break about 10 seconds, then speeds up and remerges from the wave’s tube as the swell quickly dissipates.

“I knew it was big, but I didn’t know how big,” he said. Taking to the sea on the morning of November the 1st, 2011, McNamara had been invited to Nazaré by the Government of Portugal to investigate the area for a big wave competition, writes The Daily Mail.

“There is an underwater canyon 1,000ft deep that runs from the ocean right up to the cliffs,’ explained McNamrara last year. “It’s like a funnel. At its oceans end it’s three miles wide but narrows as it gets closer to the shore and when there is a big swell it acts like an amplifier.”

When asked how he found the courage to surf the giant wave McNamara was immediate with the answer: “I went to Alaska a while back and surfed the waves generated from a glacier calving and ever since then, I’ve never been afraid in the ocean. I feel very comfortable in the ocean,” he said. “This wave, if you fell, I don’t think I would’ve come home.”

“It’s so dangerous, so much water moving in two different directions and it’s all rocks. All the water is moving straight into the rocks.”

McNamara, who began surfing at age 11 and went pro at 17, revealed his achievement became more important to him when he realized it could urge others to follow their dreams. “The world would be a much better place if everyone was doing what they wanted to do,” he said.

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