Garrett McNamara felt many things as the monster wave approached. Excitement. Awe. Joy. The one thing he did not feel, however, is fear.
That might seem unusual, given that he was about to ride what is believed to have been a 100-foot wave on Monday. But there was no place in his heart, or mind, for such things. He was focused utterly on the moment.
“If you have fear then it means you are not living in the moment,” McNamara told Wired by e-mail from Nazaré, Portugal. “You are either stuck in the past or worrying about the future. It is important to not think and just do! Follow your heart and fear does not exist.”
The folks at Guinness still have to confirm the height of the wave, but McNamara is believed to have set a new record for the biggest wave ever ridden by a surfer. He holds the current record of 78 feet. It takes a lot of time and preparation for such a feat, and McNamara didn’t just roll up to the beach and paddle out to the perfect wave. He monitored the storm for about a week before even flying to Portugal from Hawaii. He’s been surfing the Nazaré area since 2010 and has never seen predictions like he saw for Monday. So he called his friends Kealii Mamala and Kamaki Worthington to keep an eye on him for safety’s sake and catch some waves of their own.