Garrett McNamara


An international big wave explorer known for discovering and surfing the biggest wave in the world at Nazaré, Portugal, Garrett McNamara is a household name and instantly recognisable figure within surfing and extreme sports. Having survived a monumental wave at Jaws and riding a tsunami from calving glaciers in Alaska, Garrett has combated the most extreme conditions and climates to make a name for himself globally.

Embarking upon another pursuit of Stand Up Paddle (SUP), Garrett gave it his own twist by designing and creating SUP boards for a more extreme experience, venturing into big wave venues like Waimea, Puerto Escondido, and Mavericks. Invited to compete in the World Stand Up Paddle Surfing Championship in June 2009 by the International Surfing Association, Garrett McNamara was one of only 32 elite surfers that were invited to attend highlighting his reputation and prowess within the world of surfing. A record breaker, adventurer and visionary, the revered Garrett McNamara is available to hire as a speaker for events, dinners and conferences through the Champions Speakers Agency.

Born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Garrett McNamara spent most of his childhood in Berkeley, where he and his younger brother Liam McNamara, were both known by friends to be rather fearless and to shrug off the pains of rough childhood play, foreshadowing his later ability to face danger while surfing. Moving to the North Shore of Hawaii in 1978, at eleven years of age, McNamara followed his younger brother’s footsteps and began surfing at Sunset, Waimea and the outer reefs in search of giant swells. These formative years within the sport would form the foundations for his future record-breaking ventures that stamped his authority on the world of extreme sports.

Having entered and placed in the prestigious Hawaiian Triple Crown Series at just seventeen, it was not long until Garrett McNamara began to attract and secure major sponsors from renowned Japanese brands. Over the next decade, both Garrett and his brother joined the competition circuit, travelling and becoming fluent in Japanese, a skill that now also makes him a hugely sought after speaker within Asia. McNamara welcomed and craved the challenge to find the biggest waves in the world, which would instantly become his dream and mission in life.

After training for a year, McNamara won the $70,000 purse at the Tow Surfing World Cup in Maui partners with his parter before posed for the cover of major surf magazines around the world after being photographed in a dramatic barrel shot off of the coast of Teahupo’o in Tahiti later that year. Riding one of his most well-known waves, McNamara soon found himself at Jaws and caught a wave with a 20-foot (6.1 m) barrel where onlookers believed he had been crushed by the lip of the wave. The wave spit and escaping death, he emerged to the surprise and amazement of everyone watching, including himself. A breath-taking event, when Garrett reminisces on this formative experience he has the ability to engage and capture the attention of every attendee while awakening a sensation within them that will create an unforgettable experience.

Continually pushing himself to seek out the most challenging and daunting waves, Garrett McNamara has his sights set on greatness and has been the subject of documentaries which were a testament to his brilliance and stature within the sport. Not all of McNamara’s career was positive however, the nature of his sport meant fatalities often occurred and a number of wipeouts he sustained went viral with local surfers having said a particular incident was one of the worst wipeouts caught on video.

Setting the world record in 2011, McNamra discusses the achievement along with the scrutiny he faced providing guests with an insight into how life can be tough at the top. Never one to rest on his laurels, Garrett soon went in search of greater waves and went on to break his own record by over a foot. Signed on as a team rider and global ambassador to WaveJet, an electronic jet drive that plugs into any WaveJet personal watercraft including surfboards, stand up paddleboards, and more.

Now retired, Garrett McNamara is called upon worldwide to deliver insightful speeches about his career that led to him becoming a global sensation. A truly inspirational figure that continually strived for greatness and that is constantly in pursuit to push boundaries, Garrett McNamara is a once is a generation speaker and world record holder that is available to hire through the Champions Speakers Agency.

To book Garrett McNamara the Motivational Speaker for your corporate event, function or conference, simply contact the Champions Speakers agency by emailing or by calling a booking agent directly on 0207 1010 553.

When at corporate events, Garrett is known to cover the following topics:

  • Drive & Determination
  • Peak Performance
  • Overcoming Adversity