Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara wowed the surfing community Monday January 28, 2013 as he apparently broke his own Guinness World Record for largest wave ever surfed when he caught what most news sources have said is a 100-foot wave off the coast of Nazare, Portugal.
“It’s a complex region with a submarine canyon—when waves propagate over the canyon at different speeds, they start to converge near the shore,” he says. “This increases the height of waves in the area.”
The canyon is particularly special because it occurs just a few hundred feet off shore. Though the canyon can reach depths of a mile further offshore, it is closer to 500 feet deep near the coast. As additional waves start closer to shore, Vitorino says there is a “second amplification” of the wave, which can double its size.
“They’re capable of promoting some conditions which lead to very big waves there,” he says.
According to Vitorino, who McNamara consulted with this week, as well last year when he surfed a 78-foot wave, local wind conditions were very calm and there was no storm in the area.
McNamara, 45, took the big ride Monday at Praia do Norte, in Nazaré, Portugal.
“Today was an awesome day and so fun to be out there,” he tweeted.
“I feel very blessed, and I feel that we’ve achieved everything we wanted to do with Portugal and Nazaré, especially,” he told Surfer Today (not affiliated with USA TODAY). “We were surfing in zones we haven’t surfed, so it was a little overwhelming. … [W]e could easily ended up on the rocks. In one wave, I almost got sucked over.”
A photo captures McNamara descending the face of the wave, plus there’s video from a Portuguese news channel. Surfer Today has more photos of Monday’s swell conditions, which it described as “heavenly perfect.”
Stay tuned for the confirmation of this possible record breaking wave!!
See you at the beach!