Monster wave ‘very challenging’, says US surfer

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US surfer Garrett McNamara meets media before a surf session in Nazare, Portugal, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. McNamara is said to have broken his own world record for the largest wave surfed when he caught a wave reported to be around 100ft off the coast of Nazare on Monday. If the claims are verified, it will mean that McNamara, who was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts but whose family moved to Hawaii’s North Shore when he was aged 11, has beaten his previous record, which was also set at Nazare, of 23.77 meters (78 feet) in November 2011. AP/Francisco Seco

PARIS—An American man has described the difficulties of riding monster waves off the coast of Portugal, as he waited to hear whether he had broken the record for the biggest wave ever surfed.

“Personally, it was very challenging,” Garrett McNamara was quoted as saying by surfertoday.com. “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…”

McNamara currently holds the world record for the biggest wave surfed after riding a 78-foot (23.77 meter) breaker in Nazare, central Portugal, on November 1, 2011 but on Monday was thought to have gone better at the same location.

The 45-year-old from Hawaii was cautious about his exploit, though, telling reporters that he had “no idea” about the size of the wave and that his partner Kealii Mamala may even have set the new global benchmark.

“It definitely took longer (than his previous world best) but I can’t say if it was bigger,” he added.

Surfing experts and event organisers were also unable to say definitively whether the man nicknamed “G-Mac” had clinched another world best, amid reports that the wave could have been as high as 100ft, but praised his bravery for tackling the waves.

The 2012 Association of Surfing Professional (ASP) World Tour champion Joel Parkinson, was quoted as saying by surfertoday.com: “If this is real it’s off the charts.”

Both McNamara and Mamala were able to reach the waves in the Atlantic Ocean swell off the rocky coast of the fishing village, some 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Lisbon, due to practice known as a “tow-in”.

They were towed by a jet-ski towards the face of the wave, allowing them to catch the biggest rather than only using the strength of their own arms, as in traditional surfing. Rescue crews were on hand in case of any mishap.

Guinness World Records told AFP in emailed comments that it was working with big wave surfing experts Billabong XXL to verify officially the exact size of the wave McNamara rode on Monday.

“Once the evidence has been reviewed and the height of the wave confirmed by Billabong XXL, then Guinness World Records will be able to confirm whether Garrett McNamara has broken his current record,” it added.

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