Monster wave a world record?

Last updated 08:47 30/01/2013
Tobias Ilsanker

The moment a thrill-seeking surfer catches the "world's biggest wave" off the coast of Portugal.

Garrett McNamara
THE MAN HIMSELF: Garrett McNamara.

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For sheer jaw-dropping exhilaration, little beats the sight of a human riding a massive wall of water.

Now the surfing world is rife with news that a new world record has been set for the biggest wave ridden.

Pictures and video taken at Nazare in Portugal show Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara descending the face of a wave believed to have measured at about 100ft (30.5 metres).

Had he wiped out on the massive wave, he risked being forced many metres below the water, or being slammed into a reef or the ocean floor.

If the wave size is confirmed by Guinness World Records it will beat the previous record by more than 20ft (6.1m).

McNamara also set that mark at Nazare in 2011 on a wave originally reported to have been 90ft (27.4m) but later revised by Guinness to 78ft (23.8m).

McNamara, 45, was born in Massachusetts, but his family moved to Hawaii's North Shore when he was 11.

The huge waves at Nazare are generated by a 300m deep underwater canyon, roughly five kilometres wide where it starts at sea, then narrowing rapidly as it approaches the shore, funnelling more and more water into the waves.

McNamara's other achievements include being the first person to ride a glacier wave on a surfboard, after he and a colleague spent three weeks in 2007 camped by the 130m Child's Glacier in Alaska, waiting for it to calve.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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