Surfer Garret McNamara rides what may be biggest wave ever

Jordan Chittley
Daily BuzzNovember 11, 2011

An American adventurist may have just surfed the largest wave ever after riding a 27-metre (90 feet) wall of water off the coast of Portugal.

Garrett McNamara, 44, of Hawaii had to be towed into the wave on a jet-ski to break the record by more than a metre, which was previously held Ken Bradshaw.

"This wave was very different," McNamara says to ABC News. "This one just jacked up, broke, actually kind of barreled, and went to run me over, and somehow by the grace of God, I made it."

He says he didn't think he was going to ride the big one, but was just hoping to find a new spot to surf.

"When I rode the wave I didn't know how big it was and then it landed on me at the very end," McNamara tells ABC. "It was like a ton of bricks on my shoulders and that's when I realized if I had fallen it could have been really bad."

While riding such a big wave may seem crazy and dangerous, McNamara believes almost any size wave can be ridden if conditions are right and says a lot of careful planning goes into riding the big ones.

According to Surfer Village, massive waves can spawn in this area of Portugal because there are huge canyons on the seafloor.

"The 'Nazare Canyon' is a rare geographical phenomenon, the biggest in Europe and one of the largest in the world, which can be explained as a gap on the continental plate," reads the website. "The 'Nazare Canyon,' that is located right in front of Praia do Norte, receives the swells from the Atlantic Ocean and creates waves with abnormal size."

The record will still need to be verified by photos and videos before McNamara officially receives it.

"Half the people think I'm out of my mind...and half are just..." he tells ABC. "I think they all think I'm crazy, actually."