Surfer Garrett McNamara talks about his HBO sports documentary series ‘100 Foot Wave’ – Deadline

Surfing legend Garrett McNamara has broken many bones while riding some of the biggest waves in the world.

“I broke my feet several times, I broke my ribs several times,” he notes. “I broke my back, I broke my shoulder.”

These injuries did not dissuade him from returning to the ocean and seeking to do what might seem impossible, or at least advised against: riding a wave 100 feet high.

His quest to accomplish this feat takes place in HBO Sports’ six-part documentary 100 foot wave, coming this spring on HBO and the HBO Max streaming platform. Chris Smith (Fyre, Jim & Andy: the great beyond) realized, aiming to “try to tell the story from land and sea”.

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Smith and executive producer Joe Lewis and their crew have toured four continents, with much of the surf action filmed in Nazaré, Portugal, an extraordinarily scenic location with waves approaching 10 stories.

HBO Sports

“There have been some surf projects that are very good at capturing the beauty of the waves, and I was very interested in the human side of it, in the history on earth,” Smith said Wednesday at the HBO and HBO Max TCA presentation for the documentary. “In terms of water [footage], we just tried to hire the best people who were at their peak to catch the waves.

He added: “To date, the only way people have seen big waves is either from the land, you are watching from a drone… or maybe from a helicopter. See the new wave over there [in the water] is just an entirely different experience. … Everyone in the water – the cameramen, everyone is risking their life.

This includes, of course, McNamara himself, who started surfing at age 11 in his native Hawaii. He says since childhood that he felt more alive in the ocean than anywhere else.

“This is right where I belong. When it’s really big and giant, I feel more comfortable than having a Zoom meeting, ”admitted McNamara. “The chase was just to find the 100 foot wave.”

McNamara, who held the Guinness World Record for Greatest Wave to Surf, said he’s in a rush to successfully break through a huge wall of water, but even more exhilarating when a vengeful wave hits you.

“This huge, basically like an avalanche, lands on you and it looks like a ton of bricks,” he said. “Essentially trying to rip your limbs and try to get rid of the oxygen, and you have to do your best to stay calm and go with it. It’s like a washing machine in a spin cycle with King Kong shaking it. … You are one hundred percent out of control.

HBO Sports

McNamara’s wife, Nicole McNamara, also appears in the HBO Sports series. The same goes for Nicole’s brother, CJ, a surfer.

From a clifftop vantage point, “Nicole spots the waves and sends them into the waves,” Lewis explained. “So it is exactly the opposite to hope that they will come back well.”

Nicole conceded: “It’s a big responsibility. The blame is on me – if I don’t send them on the biggest race and the next biggest, it’s all my fault.

Nicole and Garrett have two children, including a daughter whose middle name, Nazaré, is taken from the thunderous Portuguese surf spot of 100 foot wave. Their son, Barrel, is named after the ideal surfer wave, which curls into a perfect tubular shape. The kids seem eager to follow Dad into the water.

“Barrel started surfing when he was 11 months old. He had his first wave, ”noted McNamara. “He started walking at 9 years old [months], so surf at 11 months. Nicole said their daughter started surfing at the same age, commenting, “She’s pretty intense.”

Garrett mcnamara
HBO Sports

McNamara said his physical trainer had worked for decades with the coach of Super Bowl champion Tom Brady and, like the quarterback, the surfer said he had no plans to retire. In fact, you are unlikely to ever see him hanging over the edge of a recliner.

He just said, “I hope I can keep surfing for as long as I’m alive.”

100 feet of wave is produced by Topic Studios, Library Films and Amplify Pictures and produced by Smith, Lewis, Maria Zuckerman, Ryan Heller and Michael Bloom.

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