If there is one thing Garrett McNamara does better than dropping into crazy scary waves, it's leveraging his exploits in the media. In less than 48 hours the now famous "100-footer" has spanned the globe, garnering millions of views and appearing on mainstream network news shows everywhere, including "SportsCenter."
McNamara attests that he's still unsure of how big the wave actually was, just that it was the biggest one he has ever ridden. Meanwhile, some pundits in the surf world are unsure what to make of McNamara's wave.
To be sure, it's huge. Like really huge. But upon reviewing the footage available, the wave appears to feather for a long time, but never really throw over and break. In other words, let's be a little restrained before we start claiming he's the first surfer to hit the century mark. As McNamara has noted, it "felt like snowboarding," as opposed to a heaving, top-to-bottom giant like one might find at Jaws.
Now that everybody and their grandmother has seen the wave that's sure to break the Guinness world record, time will be the judge. Until then here's McNamara in his words:
XGames.com: How big would you say the wave you rode is?
McNamara: I wouldn't say it's over 90 feet, but I would say that it was very hard to ride. It was the most challenging drop I've ever experienced. But it was really nice because it kept going. It kept building and building and going and going. I was just working on getting to the bottom. It really felt like snowboarding. It was amazing. the feeling was amazing.
Did you expect to ride a wave that big on that day?
The swell was bigger than anything we'd surfed in the past. About the size of the waves, I really don't know how big it was because the people who measure the waves, I don't know who they are. One of the waves I towed Kealii [Mamala] into was bigger than the wave I caught last year, I know that.
Do you think you could go bigger?
Who's to say? I know that preparation and safety are everything, and we were very blessed to have Kealii and Kamaki [Worthington]. Without them I wouldn't be here. They saved me on that big one. My wife told me not to go right there, but before I knew it I was on it. I was on that right that she didn't want me to ride, and that I didn't want to ride, and when I kicked out the next wave was coming and Kealii was coming to get me, but there wasn't enough time. He tried to go to the channel but the wave caught him. He got blown off the jet ski, we were so close to the rocks. And so I'm paddling and he's flying, then we're both swimming, the waves are coming, and we are right next to these rocks. Kamaki came in and got us. Without Kamaki for safety it could have gotten really ugly.
You've been at this awhile now, Portugal seems to have a hold on you?
I had no idea there was waves like this in Portugal. Scientifically it really makes sense because there's a huge trench underwater that brings all the swell down the trench to the beach and then it just jumps up when it hits the beach. It's all because of the undersea canyon. The Atlantic has huge low-pressure systems and this canyon allows the swell generated by those storms to reach maximum potential.