Surfers’ Death-Defying Ride of Glacier Wave

Melissa Knowles
Trending Now
Surfers’ Death-Defying Ride of Glacier Wave

A couple of guys from Hawaii have taken daredevil surfing to a whole new level. Garrett McNamara and Kealii Mamala set out to surf a huge wave caused by a calving glacier in Cordova, Alaska. The duo waited for 20 hours a day over the course of a week for a 300-foot-tall glacier to create the icy wave. McNamara was on a surfboard and Mamala was on a personal watercraft, a practice known as tow-in surfing.

When a chunk of ice finally broke off the glacier and created the massive wave, it was tremendous. Forty-five-year-old McNamara said of the experience, "It's the heaviest thing I've ever done in my life! ... It's like the Empire State Building about to come down on top of you. ... It was the closest I've ever come to death."

The video of the pair's attempt to surf the wave was recorded by world-renowned surfing videographer Ryan Casey, who can be heard in the background yelling in disbelief at how massive the wave is. You can also hear Casey become anxious as he wonders if his friends are in danger, because for several moments it appears that the situation is extremely perilous, and McNamara looks as though he's being swallowed up by the wave. Casey says, "Oh, is he in there? Is he gonna come out?" For a while, Casey loses sight of McNamara and wonders where he is until he catches a glimpse of him surfing his way out of the enormous wave.

Casey inspired the duo to take on the glacier wave. McNamara is best known for beating the world record in 2011 for catching the largest wave, at about 78 feet high off the coast of Nazaré, Portugal.

The men have said that there's nothing that compares to the rush they felt after achieving such a feat, and they're not sure if there will ever be anything else that can compare.

The video was originally posted in 2007 and has been viewed more than 1.4 million times.

[Related: Climate Change Could Bring an End to Surfing's Endless Summer]

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