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Riding a Hundred-Foot Wave, Surfer Breaks His Own World Record

Garrett McNamara said he felt awe, joy and excitement as the massive wall of water approached - but no fear

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Riding a towering 100-foot wave, surfer Garrett McNamara likely broke his own world record for biggest wave ever surfed. The wave, which occurred in Nazaré, Portugal, still needs its height to be confirmed by Guinness. Not everyone’s convinced this wave was as tall as McNamara’s hoping, but most believe McNamara has indeed broken the previous record of 78 feet, also set in Portugal.

McNamara’s been surfing since he was a teenager and has been aiming to surf a 100-footer for more than a decade. He’s had his eye on Nazaré for awhile, too, he told the Daily Beast:

He landed in Nazaré for the first time in 2005, at the invitation of a local friend, wanting to see the coast’s big-wave potential for himself. “I saw waves over 100 feet the first day I got here, and I was in awe, and couldn’t believe what I’ve found,” he said.

To prepare for the challenge, the surfer monitored a storm a week before flying to Portugal from Hawaii. Though he’s been surfing the Nazaré area since 2010, the impending storm warnings he saw on the news exceeded any conditions he’d seen before.  Thanks to an underwater canyon about 1,000 feet deep, the oceanfront stretch at Nazare tends to produce extra sweet monster waves for surfers. 

“All these waves are just so fun to ride and are normal to me. This one was the longest drop of my life though,” McNamara told Wired.

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