1. Garrett McNamaraGarrett McNamara was awarded the Global Big Wave Award prize at the Billabong XXL Awards on May 4, after officials reviewed the wave, which measured 90-feet high.
2. Mike ParsonsMike Parsons surfed a 70-plus-footer off California’s Cortes Bank on Jan. 5, 2008.
3. Pete CabrinhaPete Cabrinha surfed a 70-foot wave at Jaws, off Maui, on Jan. 10, 2004.
4. Carlos BurleCarlos Burle, who surfed a 68-foot wave at Maverick’s off California on Nov. 21, 2001
5. Dan MooreDan Moore surfed a 68-foot wave at Jaws off Maui on Dec. 15, 2004.
Garret McNamara is officially the only surfer to have ever ridden a 90-foot wave.
The 44-year-old professional surfer from Hawaii was awarded the Global Big Wave Award prize at the Billabong XXL Awards on May 4, after officials reviewed the wave, which measured 23.7 meters high.
It's amazing we get to do what we do, I'm so grateful, McNamara said onstage, accepting the award. The world record doesn't mean as much to me -- this is for the town of Nazaré and Portugal and for all my family and friends there. To be able to give them something to be proud of and inspire them, a world record for this town doing it tough in the middle of nowhere is great.
McNamara had been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for catching the giant wave off the coast of Portugal last November.
While the Body Glove International team rider is now the only surfer to have ridden a wave that big, he has officially beaten out Mike Parsons, the previous record-holder, who in 2008 surfed a 77-footer in Southern California.
McNamara, a Pittsfield, Mass., native, is a star in the worlds of surfing and ocean exploration.
In the summer of 2007, Garrett and partner Keali'I Mamala set out to see how big they could go. Traveling off the coast of South-Central Alaska, the two big-wave surfers found themselves in one of the most inhospitable climates in the world, with Tsunami waves formed by calving glaciers.
It was the heaviest rush sitting out there, dwarfed by this enormous 300-foot glacier, Garrett said. We were just waiting for the whole thing to crash down in front of us, and hoping we would survive when it did.
From surviving the monstrous barrel at Jaws during the winter of 2003 to being one of only 2 human beings ever to ride tsunami waves generated by calving glaciers in Alaska in the summer of 2007, McNamara's 90-foot ride brings his already decorated career full-circle.
In celebration of Garret McNamara's Global Big Wave Award, here are the top five biggest waves ever surfed.