Garrett McNamara reminds us all it’s just about the waves, real big ones.

                                 “I just want to ride big waves. I don’t care how. It’s as simple as that. If I see it, I want to ride it.” - Garrett McNamara. Photo: Red Bull

Critics? Sure, Garrett McNamara has a few. He knows it, you know it but here’s the thing…he sure ain’t gonna die wondering.

A quick Google search in the wake of those last two gigantic swells that hit Nazare and Mavericks will throw up endless images of G-Mac ploughing down the face and typically grinning.

But if any further confirmation were needed he indeed isn’t the crazed narcissist he’s been portrayed as in the past, look no further than the godfather of Australian big wave surfing-Ross Clarke-Jones.

The two not only traded waves at Nazare, but also a trip underwater after Garrett put himself in harms way to rescue Ross after a heavy wipe-out.

“It’s really cool what Garrett’s done both with his surfing and moving surfing into the mainstream.,” says Ross.

“I am so proud of him and a bit envious I guess given his association with Mercedes, I’d love to have something like with Porsche!”

The respect goes both ways, with Garrett claiming Ross “Is the only big wave surfer I’ve ever looked up to,”.

“His Aussie approach to the riding big waves is just perfect. He never runs from the wave and always goes as deep as possible. I love the guy and I was so, so stoked he made it to Portugal.”

But it was perhaps the Mavericks swell that may have surprised Garrett’s harshest critics, who were quick to pour scorn on him after the drop in incident and subsequent near drowning of Greg Long in 2012.

Indeed it was Long who convinced Garrett the swell headed to Mavericks would be worth the trip.

“I started getting excited by that swell while I still in Portugal,” says Garrett.

“And I spoke to Greg (Long) about it and he convinced me it was going to a A plus swell and worth it. So I went.”
And went he did, relying solely on paddle power to snare some of the day’s biggest waves-not that Garrett didn’t give a passing thought to the potential of being towed in though.

“There were so many waves that went unridden and if we were towing we would have gotten the biggest barrels you’d ever get at Mavericks,’’ he says.

“But paddling was just the most exciting fun and really, really challenging and the thing is, despite the crowds, there were so many waves that if you wanted a bomb, they were there for the taking.”
And such is the dichotomy that is Garrett McNamara, paddle, tow, it doesn’t really matter to him-an almost refreshing outlook given the rebirth of cool that paralleled the rebirth of paddling XXL waves.

“I don’t really care either way,’’ he says.
“I just want to ride big waves. I don’t care how. It’s as simple as that. If I see it, I want to ride it.”
So with two swells worth of XXL waves under his belt, the man known as G-Mac finds himself at home on Oahu, surrounded by kids, his wife and like so many others this time of year, a long list of jobs to do.
“I’m so so stoked there’s no major swells on the horizon for the time being,” he says.
“I get to spend time with my kids, time with my wife and just put my feet up for a while.