x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Surf's up and up and up

The first secret of surfing the world's biggest wave?: Get in the water.

Garrett McNamara won the Biggest Wave title with this wave ridden on November 1, 2011 shown in this image released to Reuters on May 11, 2012. McNamara's record-setting feat was verified by Guinness after an independent panel of big wave and photography experts painstakingly measured still and video images of the colossal wave, a spokeswoman for the agency said. Wilson Ribeiro / BillabongXXL / Reuters
Garrett McNamara won the Biggest Wave title with this wave ridden on November 1, 2011 shown in this image released to Reuters on May 11, 2012. McNamara's record-setting feat was verified by Guinness after an independent panel of big wave and photography experts painstakingly measured still and video images of the colossal wave, a spokeswoman for the agency said. Wilson Ribeiro / BillabongXXL / Reuters

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, some have greatness thrust upon them by an enormous wall of water. Garrett McNamara, from Haleiwa, Hawaii, has earned his place in surfing lore and the record books by catching the biggest wave ever ridden - an enormous breaker nearly 78 feet (25 metres) tall off the coast of Nazare, Portugal.

After wiping out several times the day before in the same spot, the 44-year-old surfer only reluctantly dipped his toes in the water at the urging of friends. "I was really beat up that morning," Mr McNamara said. "I did not even want to get out of bed."

His reward for not rolling over for a further 40 winks that morning last November last year is official recognition by Guinness World Records and a $15,000 (Dh55,000) prize awarded at last week's Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Award event. Analysis of video footage determined that he had beaten the previous record by one foot.

The laid-back American, who has been surfing professionally since he was 17, was contemplative about his achievement."I am living proof you can do what you love as a career," Mr McNamara said. We would think, however, the same rules apply in any career: just stay on your feet and avoid the massive wipeout.