Garrett McNamara

Garrett McNamara’s wave was BIG, but was it 90 feet? DONT MATTER ! ITS FKIN BIG!






Garrett McNamara caught a monstrous wave Tuesday off Nazaré in Portugal, but did the wave face measure anywhere close to 90 feet, as a witness in the surfer’s group implied and as news reports suggested? Is it the largest wave ever ridden, as stated in the headline of a news release issued after the epic tow-surfing session?

Both points are debatable based on footage provided by McNamara to, for its Tuesday afternoon post on the surfer’s incredible ride.

It was, without doubt, an amazing performance by the big-wave surfing icon from Hawaii. The wave face, however, does not appear to measure 90 feet. It’s worth noting, thugh, that footage captured from up high or far away, as was mostly the case here (there is some helmet-cam footage), can be misleading. A more accurate perspective can be obtained from up-close, at water level.

According to Guinness World Records, a 77-foot wave ridden by Mike Parsons in 2008 at Cortes Bank, an offshore Southern California seamount, is the record. (It’s pictured immediately below, for the sake of comparison.)

Hawaii’s Ken Bradshaw rode what was described as an 85-foot wave at an outer Oahu reef in 1998.


(These biggest-ever feats are almost always disputed.)

It’s likely that McNamara will be among the finalists for the XXL’s biggest-wave category. But the biggest wave ever ridden? You be the judge.

— Image of Mike Parsons at Cortes Bank in 2008 is courtesy of Robert Brown/

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