The old adage “Just ride the wave” is not simply a philosophy for life, it is also a way of life to some. To adrenaline junkie Garrett McNamara that’s exactly what it is, and that’s exactly what he did. He rode the wave. He rode a record breaking 100ft wave, the largest to have ever been ridden, to be specific. This 100ft wave was caught and rode off the coast of Nazare, Portugal. It is believed that he broke his own record of riding a 78ft wave in the same location.
This astounding endeavor occurred, January 30, in the midst of enormous waves swarming the coast of Nazare during the day. Had McNamara made any small mistake that would have caused him to wipe out he would have surely been plunged dozens of feet underwater and/or possibly smashed against the coral reef of the ocean.
As mentioned previously, it had been a question of whether or not McNamara had broken his previous 2008 record of riding a 78ft wave and, indeed, he had. The record break was confirmed by the experts at the annual Billabong XXl Global Big Wave Awards. At the awards ceremony McNamara stated that receiving the award gave him ‘a bigger rush’ than actually riding the wave. His comments were, “It’s amazing we get to do what we do, I am so grateful. 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.”
Interestingly enough Garrett McNamara, age 45, was reared in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and had moved to Hawaii with his family at the age of 11. While there he was greatly influenced by his older brother, Liam, and developed a strong interest in surfing. At age 17 he began to compete professionally alongside his older brother. McNamara has been performing these amazing feats in the water as far back as 2007.
In 2007 he was the first man to ride a glacier wave on a surf board. He spent three weeks in Alaska camped out by the 400ft Childs Glacier to await the perfect wave. When it finally came, him and his friend were filmed riding the ice cold mass. Waves like this in Alaska are caused when huge chunks of glacier break off and fall into the water.