The global surfing community took to the Internet yesterday when footage of big wave surfer Garrett McNamara’s incredible smooth ride down a 90ft wave hit the net. American McNamara was surfing Praia do Norte off the coast of Nazaré in Portugal when he bagged the 27m wave.
With him was United Kingdom surfer Andrew Cotton and Irishman Al Mennie who have been spending some time with McNamara at what is considered to be a big wave magic spot. This is due to an enormous deep water canyon 170km in length and 5km in depth, which runs all the way to the shore. He was towing with Cotton and caught the wave shortly after Cotton and Mennie had a good run on a 60ft wave.
McNamara has been surfing the spot for some time now and it appears his efforts have paid off. Footage of the big wave have prompted experts and veteran surfers to estimate the height at around 27m – that would be the biggest wave surfed since 2008 when Mike Parson rode a wave in the 70ft plus region at Cortes Bank.
McNamara is known for his big wave surfing and has spent years travelling around the world to explore big wave destinations like Child’s Glacier in Alaska. During the past few years, the 2002 Tow Surfing World Champion has been involved with an entity called the Portuguese Hydrographic Institute to explore the waves magnified by a massive canyon off of the Nazaré coast. Like canyons at Puerto Escondido, Mexico, or Blacks in San Diego, the underwater canyon intensifies swells into a focused location. After the big wave experience, McNamara said, “I feel so blessed and honored to have been invited to explore this canyon and its special town. The waves here are such a mystery.”
On Twitter, ASP World Champion Kelly Slater tweeted “I just saw a shot of Garrett McNamara from Portugal on a stupidly big wave. He should post that thing ASAP. Looks like huge Jaws.”