“It's just a little piece of what Nazare has to offer,” Mamala said of the recent swell. “It can handle as big as it gets, and that kind of makes me a little scared. There was one wave that day that I told Garrett I don't want at all. This thing was top to bottom, 80 maybe 100 feet. I said I’m going to pass this one up today, and maybe ride it some other time.”
McNamara found out firsthand the kind of danger big-wave surfers face when challenging swells at Nazare. The wave crashes toward cliffs hundreds of feet high, and when McNamara kicked out of his possibly record-breaking ride, he was only 10 or 20 feet from the rocks.
“I didn’t realize where I was,” said McNamara. “It would have been certain death.”
Mamala meanwhile, had lost control of his WaveRunner and was swimming toward the watercraft when he saw a second crew race toward McNamara and pick him up.
“They got Garrett already and they're coming back out, and I'm like, 'Oh my god, thank you for watching over us.”