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Surfer catches 'biggest wave ever' off Portugal (+video)

The Guinness World Records recognizes Hawaii pro surfer for the biggest wave ever ridden. Garrett McNamara surfed a 78-foot wave off the coast of Portugal.

Garrett McNamara sets record for biggest wave surfed at at Praia do Norte, Portugal.
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The Guinness World Records has recognized a 44-year-old Hawaii pro surfer for catching a 78-foot wave off the coast of Portugal, saying the November feat beats a 2008 record for the biggest ridden by more than 1 foot.

Big-wave surfer Garrett McNamara of Haleiwa, on Oahu's North Shore, told The Associated Press that the ride of his life was a fluke.

He said he originally didn't want to attempt the waves that day after wiping out numerous times on even bigger swells in the same spot, above an undersea canyon known as one of the biggest wave-generators on the planet.

"I was really beat-up that morning," he said. "This day, I did not want to get out of bed."

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He changed his mind at the urging of friends, once they got into the ocean and he helped others catch a few waves.

"Everything came together," McNamara said Thursday. "Everything felt right."

Video of the run shows a minuscule 5-foot-10-inch McNamara against a wall of water as he lets go of a tow rope and begins riding down the wave at Praia do Norte. He briefly disappears into the break about 10 seconds into the run, then speeds up and reemerges from the wave's tube as the swell quickly dissipates.

"I knew it was big, but I didn't know how big," he said.

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