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Garrett McNamara

Astral Archetype, Garrett McNamara surfs a gigantic wave in Nazare, Portugal

Big Wave Surfer

Astral Archetype, Garrett McNamara, broke the record for the largest wave ever surfed and remains one of the world's most influential big water surfers and watermen. We caught up with him to learn more about the living legend of GMAC.
Vector
Describe the perfect wave.
The perfect wave has a nice long barrel, and is about 10 – 40 feet tall. Maybe it has about a ten second barrel.
Describe your worst pounding.

There have been so many I don’t remember any more! The one at Mavericks because of the injury, but I have never felt like I did not have enough air. There have been a couple where I was getting weak and thought to myself, ‘I don’t know how much more I can handle.’ Longest was probably in Fiji. Now I call the poundings ‘underwater rides’, I choose to enjoy them.

Vector
Describe why you are attracted to hemp as a material.
Hemp can produce more oxygen than most plants. It grows like a weed and is easy to cultivate and farm without any pesticides or fertilizers. And you can produce biodegradable oil and plastic material from it. It is the one of the plants that can really save the world.
Garrett McNamara ties his Astral Hemp Chukkers in a room with a surf board and gear
Astral Garrett McNamara
You were born in Massachusetts but live in Hawaii and Portugal. How has each geography shaped who you are today?
Mass gave me the east coast drive. I brought it along to Hawaii and Portugal, and they enable me to excel wherever I go.
Vector
Have you ever been in a fist fight?
During my school years there were a few.
What’s the biggest difference between a fist fight and a solid pounding in the ocean?
In a fist fight, you kind of anticipate what is coming and you plan, navigate, deflect and counter attack. In the ocean you just have to let go, release control and go with it. You have to relax.
How long can you hold your breath?
About 4.5 minutes.
Garrett MacNamara looks out over ocean with surfboard under arm at Nazare

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Garrett McNamara

Vector
Favorite constellation or part of the solar system to look at?
Probably the milky way and the north star. But I also like the big dipper. It’s so easy to find and can always scoop things up!
What is the most pressing threat to our oceans?
Farming, agriculture, textiles and plastics.
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“Hemp can produce more oxygen than most plants.”

– Garrett McNamara

What keeps you searching for big waves?
The passion. And desire. It is just so fun. The love for riding. So amazing to surf uncharted territories. The whole package. It is magical.
What is the crux to overcoming injuries?
Know that they are temporary, you can get over it, then do all the work to be whole again.
Garrett McNamara sits cross legged and focused in a dark room
Garrett McNamara beach clean up video interview
Vector
What is it like having a film crew follow your every movement?
We have been super lucky and have guys filming who are basically family. Most of it is very normal, but at times there are things going on where you are not being your best self and you might not want to share that.
How do you balance your desire to chase big waves with your commitment to your family?
I think that is most challenging. I am getting better. It was really challenging for the last seven years and now with baby Fe it has become a lot easier. I have patience and do not need to be on every wave. I do my best to be ready, focus more on the perfect days and spend the others with the family.

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