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London ad exec Tom Birmingham set off in November in search of adventure on the Southwest Indian coastline. Accompanied by guesthouse owners Ed and Sofie of Soul and Surf in Kerala, he soon found himself surfing uncharted waves to an audience of school children and fisherman. Words and Photos: Tom Birmingham

When his career as a pro surfer was ended by cancer, Richie Lovett forged a new career in the manufacturing industry. Now he's singing the praises of machine-shaping technology. Words: Chris Preston Photos: Jamie Bott

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Garrett McNamara breaks world record

November 12, 2011 | Words By:

Garrett McNamara makes history again by breaking the current record of the biggest wave ever surfed. The wave came during the two month period of the ZON North Canyon Show 2011, with a height of around 90 feet.


Garrett McNamara breaks world record

He was towing with Andrew Cotton, from the UK, and Al Mennie, from Ireland, when the bomb came in. Al was in the channel and describes the moment. “Everything seemed to be perfect, the weather, the waves. Both Cotty and I rode two big ones in the 60ft + range and then when Garrett got on the rope a wave, maybe 30 feet bigger came out of the canyon, it was meant to be. I had the best seat in the house as I was doing water safety on the ski as he dropped down the face of the biggest wave I’ve ever seen. It was incredible. Most people would look scared but Garrett looked in control as he went down the most critical part of the wave. It was an inspirational ride by an inspirational surfer. After the ride it was as if the sea calmed down. We sat out there and just absorbed both what had just happened and the surroundings. What a day!

The three were surfing in Praia do Norte off the coast of Nazaré, Portugal. McNamara has been spending quite some time here once he discovered the magic of the spot. The coast of Nazaré is home to one of the only deep water canyons that runs all the way to shore. He has been working with the Portuguese Hydrographic Institute to understand how the waves reach such an abnormal height.

According to the Portuguese Hydrographic Institute, “the proximity of the ‘Nazaré Canyon’ to Praia do Norte creates a situation that greatly increases the swells intensity. The conditions of the swell and wind direction observed on this day exemplify this phenomenon”. “By 9:00 AM, the monitor on the buoys registered a swell with around 8 m near Nazaré. With a WNW swell direction with favorable wind, it is reasonable to conclude that this wave had a significant swelling effect, which is characteristic of this place.”

I feel so blessed and honored to have been invited to explore this canyon and its special town. The waves here are such a mystery”, said Garrett.

ZON North Canyon Show 2011

Garrett McNamara is back in Portugal to embark on another mission exploring the waves of Nazaré, in the ZON North Canyon Show 2011. This is the second mission of a three years project, initiated last year. This is a Nazaré City Hall project, sponsored by ZON, to internationally promote the region as a destination for surfing, show casing the unique aspects of the “Nazaré Canyon”.

The “Nazaré Canyon” is a rare geographical phenomenon, the biggest in Europe and one of the largest in the world, which can be explained as a gap on the continental plate with 170 kilometers of length and 5 kilometers of depth. The “Nazaré Canyon”, that is located right in front of Praia do Norte, receives the swells from the Atlantic Ocean and creates waves with abnormal size, compared to the rest of the Portuguese coast.

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5 Comments


  1. Great job … just wanted to complement you thats all.. I live in malibu and care for the hardest rider… I really don”t get why I have to give my info just to say I am so proud of you… peace out

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  2. ohh just on a note if your in caly I know the best surf shop if you need a board , I’m sure you may not anyway just in case… And I am not doing this for business or promotion I a am just a single mom that loves the surf…
    … I am sure you get it all… may the tides be kind to you and be safe.. Monica Christine

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  3. Jordan Algoet says:

    You’re awesome. Inspiring us all to push the limits of this world and our lives. Thank you

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  4. OMG! That wave is HUGE!

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  5. Garrett McNamara & Nazaré, Portugal & 90'.

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  6. Portugal , who knew?

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