Welcome to the second part of In Search of Excellence episode featuring Garrett McNamara, a legendary surfer who owns the world record for the largest wave ever surfed, 100 feet tall, which is the equivalent of the 10-story office building or the height of Niagara Falls.
He is the first person ever to ride a wave created by breaking glaciers. Garrett is also the author of the book “Hound of the Sea: Wild Man. Wild Waves. Wild Wisdom.” and the star of the fantastic HBO documentary TV series called “100 Foot Wave."
He is also a dedicated philanthropist. Garrett and his wife, Nicole, started an amazing Waves of Life McNamara Foundation, which helps kids to discover nature and be more environmentally conscious and self-sufficient, with a particular focus on disadvantaged kids.
02:05 From a hippie commune to a crazy cult
- Born in Massachusetts, grew up in Berkley
- Raised by a single mom in a hippie commune
- Found the cult The Christ Family
- He was around 6, and his brother was 4
- Those were the crazy times
07:57 Life in Hawaii
- Was being poor motivation for his success later in life?
- In Hawaii, mom had a husband Daryl
- Lived on welfare
- Always wanted to feel secure and not worry about the money
11:14 Surviving elementary school
- First went to elementary school in Berkley
- In Hawaii, he fought with Filipino gangs
- In high school, fought with another guy and took him out
- Hawaiians and Filipinos fought mostly with brass knuckles and knives
16:30 Garrett’s first surfing board
- Anybody with darker skin who moves to Hawaii is accepted faster
- Haole – Hawaiian term for anyone that is not a native Hawaiian
- His garage sale surfboard
- Surfed for the first time with his friend Butchy Boy Wong, a Chinese Hawaiian
- He fell in love with surfing at 11
21:25 Falling in love with big waves
- His bad experience surfing at Sunset and his fear of big waves
- Didn’t have a father in Hawaii, but had father figures (Roy Patterson, Gustavo Liberte)
- Was hanging out with Gustavo, smoked marijuana
- When he was 16, Gustavo wanted to take him to surf at Sunset
- Gustavo literally grabbed him by the neck and took him
27:27 How Garrett quit drugs and alcohol
- Was using often drugs, but stopped at 19
- He was invited to a Triple Crown
- Realized that it was possible to earn a living from surfing
- Quit using pot, cocaine, and alcohol to become a professional surfer
- How much money did he earn in Japan?
33:30 Garrett’s brother Liam
- Liam was better than Garrett, had more sponsors, made more money
- Liam became the most photographed surfer in the world
- Caught more waves than anybody at Rocky Point and Pipeline
- He should have won the Pipeline Masters one year but didn’t
- Breaking his femur and how it affected his career
41:35 What is big wave surfing?
- Surfing on big waves became popular
- Anderson Cooper described it as cruising at the side of a skyscraper but the skyscraper is collapsing on you
- Garrett describes his best experience with big wave surfing