Billabong gave Garrett McNamara props for his wave last week, and now the Guinness World Records acknowledges it, too. The Guinness World Record Agency has just credited the 44-year old Hawaiian pro surfer’s wave caught in Nazare, Portugal, Nov 1, 2011 as the largest ever, beating the 2008 record by more than 1 foot.
McNamara was already awarded the Biggest Wave Award last Friday (also snagging a $15,000 prize) at the Grove in Anaheim during the 2012 Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards (in addition to Wipeout of the Year). But, now his ride (at 78 feet) is official in the books as the largest wave ever ridden.
McNamara caught the monster wave in Praia do Norte off the coast of Nazaré. The Nazaré Canyon, a deepwater canyon that measures 170 kilometers long and 5 kilometers deep, is home to one of the only deepwater canyons that run all the way to shore. McNamara performed this feat during the ZON North Canyon Show 201.
McNamara told The Associated Press that the ride of his life was a fluke. “I knew it was big, but I didn’t know how big,” he said.
McNamara said he didn’t care at first about whether the wave was a record, but was urged by the townspeople in Nazare, Portugal, to get some kind of confirmation. He said he sent the footage and pictures to surfing legend and Billabong judge Sean Collins, who guessed the wave was 85 to 90 feet tall. Collins died in December.
Judges for the Billabong XXL awards, considered the official arbiters of big-wave surfing, pored over footage and high-resolution still images from several angles to calculate a more accurate estimate, event director Bill Sharp told the AP. They used McNamara’s height in a crouch and the length of his shin bone to help compare it to the wave’s top and bottom, Sharp said.
McNamara, who began surfing at age 11 and went pro at 17, said the achievement became more important to him when he realized it could help him urge more people to follow their passions.
Congrats on an awesome feat!