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U.S. surfer claims record for riding biggest wave ever — 78 feet (video)

May 10, 2012, 10:06 AM EDT

Garret McNamara AP

Johnny Utah approves.

It takes a long time to measure a giant wave — six months, in this case (the measuring tape keeps getting kelp in it). But Garrett McNamara of Hawaii has finally been named as the Guinness World Record holder for biggest wave ever surfed. He did it on Nov. 1, 2011 at the Praia do Norte beach in Nazare, Portugal, riding a wave measured at 78 feet by big wave surfing and photography experts. But the feat wasn’t confirmed until recently, and announced this past Friday at the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards.

The fact that the previous record was 77 feet (by Mike Parson off the Southern California coast in 2008) makes this a little suspicious. But who am I, Magnum P.I.? I defer to the experts.

CBS Los Angeles:

McNamara told Petethomasoutdoors.com, “It’s amazing we get to do what we do, I am so grateful. The world record doesn’t mean as much to me, this is for the town of Nazaré and Portugal and for all my family and friends there.

“To be able to give them something to be proud of and inspire them… 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.”

  1. mybrunoblog - May 10, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    “We’ll get him when he comes back in.”

    “He’s not coming back.”

  2. ducksworth - May 10, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    While we’re on the topic, a follow up post on why the Golf Channel occasionally airs Point Break would be great.

  3. t16rich - May 10, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    That left me speechless. To take on the wrath of mother nature, and do it head on like surfers do on waves and skiiers in avalanches, is the craziest sport of all.

    • Glenn - May 10, 2012 at 9:49 PM

      Big wave surfers are the baddest of the bad.

  4. sasquash20 - May 11, 2012 at 12:27 AM

    “fear causes hesitation, hesitation causes your worst fears to come true”
    Bodee to Johnny Utah