Garrett McNamara has broken his own world record for the largest wave surfed when he caught a wave reported to be around 100ft off the coast of Nazaré, Portugal.
The famous surfer who made headlines last year has beaten his previous record, which was also set at Nazaré.
“Today was an awesome day and so fun to be out there,” he tweeted.
“I feel very blessed, and I feel that we’ve achieved everything we wanted to do with Portugal and Nazaré, especially,” he revealed to reporters.
“We were surfing in zones we haven’t surfed, so it was a little overwhelming. … [W]e could easily ended up on the rocks. In one wave, I almost got sucked over.”
When McNamara set his previous record in 2011, the champion was accompanied by fellow big-wave surfers Andrew Cotton and Alastair Mennie and at the time Mennie rep that the conditions were “perfect” for McNamara whom he described as “inspiring”.
“Everything was perfect, the weather, the waves,” Mennie said. “Cotty and I surfed two big waves of about 60ft and then, when Garrett was ready came a canyon wave of over 90ft.”
He went on, adding: “The jet ski was the best place to see him riding the biggest wave I’ve ever seen. It was amazing. Most people would be scared but Garrett was controlling everything in the critical part of the wave. It was an inspiring ride by an inspiring surfer.”
In one of his interviews after his record-setting 90ft ride, McNamara explained: “We’d been invited by the government of Portugal to Nazaré to investigate it for a big wave competition.”
“There is an underwater canyon 1,000ft deep that runs from the ocean right up to the cliffs. It’s like a funnel. At its ocean 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.”
“The harbour where the jetskis are kept is about five minutes’ ride away. I can see it from my hotel window. You go out and it can be almost flat as you leave and ride along the coast.”
“You start seeing the waves after about half a mile when you pass some rocks and turn a point. Then you are in the break. It’s unique. The waves break into cliffs 300ft in height. You can’t contemplate coming off because it would kill you.”
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’s record-setting November 2011 ride, at the same beach, was initially estimated at 90 feet, but the Guinness folks verified it at just under 78 feet, measured from trough to crest.
“The Garrett McNamara team believes that the wave surfed Monday is higher than the one of 2011, but to avoid any controversy we asked two surfers who certify the Billabong XXL to confirm the size of the wave, before we talk about a new record,” said Miguel Sousinha, president of Nazaré Qualifica, a company that promotes surfing in the Nazaré area.
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.