On Friday, May 9, Guinness World Records made it official: last November, Garrett McNamara rode the largest wave ever surfed.
Officially measured at 78 feet tall, the rogue wave off the coast of Nazaré, Portugal was over one foot taller than the 2008 wave at Cortes Bank, California surfed by Mike Parsons, the previous record holder.
In February, McNamara spoke with the Adrenalist about getting pulled into the massive wave (thought originally to be 90 feet) and riding it out. “I just went with my instincts and did my best to complement and enjoy it,” he said.
Speaking at the 2012 Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards, McNamara was less laid back in describing the record-breaking ride. “It’s the most challenging, dangerous wave I’ve ever surfed,” he said.
Surprisingly, surfing the break off Nazare isn’t the highlight of McNamara’s career. That distinction goes riding out Jaws in Maui, a wave that almost took his life in 2003.
To take home the Guinness World Records double crown of surfing, he may have to revisit Jaws. The legendary Hawaiian break, after all, is where Shane Dorian last year rode a 57-foot crashing monster, the largest wave ever surfed paddle-in.