Garrett McNamara’s kickass workout.
Ever wonder how these extreme surfer athletes train and prepare themselves for the onslaught of punishment they get surfing the world’s biggest and deadliest waves?
By Joseph Grassadonia
When Garrett McNamara speaks of getting pounded in the really big surf, his voice becomes softer and serious. He wants to make clear that what he does to make a living is life and death business with no room for mistakes. “In theory, I could take an experienced surfer who never trained a day of his life. Never prepared themselves physically and mentally and take him out to the biggest wave in the world and tow him in. He could get down on it, make it and actually survive it and ride the biggest wave ever ridden. But if he fell he probably wouldn’t come home,” says Garrett, who then sits back in his chair looking up to the sky, hands calmly resting on his thighs. “Being underwater too long will scare anybody, and the power of the waves that we are riding can rip you in half. I’ve had friends who had their whole arm ripped off, and another, their whole leg from the knee. It’s definitely a sport of consequences. Once you are good and you’re comfortable and you know what you are doing, you can get away without training too hard as long as you don’t fall. But once you fall on the wrong spot, if you’re not training, then it can be your last fall.” Garrett McNamara isn’t your typical surfer. In 2003 he competed in the Tow Surfing World Cup at Jaws in terrifying 70 foot surf, which even he admits was terrifying. He won and took home the $70,000 purse and world title. In that same year, he caught a death defying 20-foot Hawaiian barrel at Jaws.
Arguably, Garrett is one of the world’s best big-wave surfers, a 5-10, 170-pound big-wave charger. He spends his life pursuing and chasing the biggest and deadliest waves in the world, and most recently, he went down as the man who surfed a 76-foot wave in Portugal, the biggest wave ever ridden in the world.
Interview continued in the July/ August issue.