The northern hemisphere’s winter has been a historically bumper season for big-wave hunters.
It reached a pinnacle this morning when Hawaiian Garrett McNamara possibly broke his own Guinness World Record with a ride on a wave some are claiming was 100ft, or about 30 metres.
A photograph of the ride shows McNamara being towed by a jetski onto a monstrous lump off Nazare, Portugal, the same beach where he set the original record of 78ft, or 23.7m, in 2011.
“We were surfing in zones we haven’t surfed, so it was a little overwhelming,” McNamara said.
“Personally, it was very challenging. You just have to stay in the moment, stay focused on what you’re doing. We’re really comfortable here, but some of those waves…”
Nazare is a deep-water beach, which funnels storm swells that were originally generated in the north Atlantic.
A crew of similarly courageous surfers enjoyed the same swell in Ireland on the weekend.
The McNamara footage shows snippets of rides that vary between impressive and terrifying. At one stage, one of the jetski riders meant to be out there to save the surfers in case of trouble is blown off his machine by a broken wave.
Earlier this month Hawaiian Shane Dorian and a couple of European big-wave specialists rode the same beach, in slightly smaller conditions, but without the aid of jetskis.
“It was super challenging, really gnarly,” Dorian said. “This wave is like a big blown-up sandbar beachbreak. It’s really exciting and challenging. It was awesome. The wave breaks wherever it wants. As far as intensity and power goes, it’s like anywhere. The waves I saw today were enormous.”