100 Foot Wave (2021–…): Season 1, Episode 3 - Mavericks - full transcript

A few days after his historic ride, Garrett is visited by his mother, whose presence prompts an exploration into his highly unconventional and turbulent childhood. In 2013, a group of Brazilians arrive in Nazare, but their failure...

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We left with hopes and dreams.

Those hopes and dreams
are now gonna be reality.

I knew that the biggest waves
in the world

were gonna be ridden
in Nazare.

So, we came back the next year.

We felt that this was possibly
gonna be the biggest ever.

They came where
the swell was picking up.

Big set.

Everything felt good,
I was like this new man.

Oh my god, that is a beast.

There was no doubt.



And you know it was
the biggest wave ever surfed.

That was the moment
all eyes came on Nazare.

- My mom's never been
to Portugal.

We're really excited
to have her here.

It's gonna be--you know,
sometimes it's tough

to have my mom around,

but since Nicole's come
into my life,

it's been a joyful experience.

Every time we hang out
with her,

it's been wonderful, so I think
it's gonna be great.

Oh!
- Oh, there she is!

- Wow.

2011, my mom wanted
to come visit us,

and it was a challenging trip,
a very challenging trip.



- Why you come over here
to Portugal?

- To see Garrett surfing
these awesome waves

and to look at the country
while I have that opportunity

to be with him--it's mostly
to be with him.

Oh, please get out of there!
Ooh!

To be honest, it would really,
really scare me

to know that Garrett was
surfing huge waves

because I know they're deadly,

but because I have my faith
in God,

and Garrett will be
on this planet as long

as he needs to be here,
I'm not worried.

- My relationship
with my mom is really good,

but she's a very strict
born-again Christian.

- I tell you,
the devil is so smart.

He's got everybody believing
he doesn't exist.

And that's tricky.

- So try not to get in
those conversations with her.

- Yeah, yeah.
- Yeah, pretty good, good.

- Ooh.

- Oh, oh.

- You got it.

- Yeah, I'm grateful
for my mother

having such a relaxed way
of raising me

and letting me experience life.

Yeah, she let me experience
everything on my own.

From a very young age,
we were free.

All I remember is fun.

My childhood was fun
all the time.

- If you ask him
about his childhood,

he'll say it was great.

And if you know anything
about his childhood,

it's far from great.

It's disturbing.

- Check out these monster
100-foot waves off Portugal.

- The biggest wave
ever surfed,

as high as 100 feet.

- To put that in perspective,

that is taller than
an eight-story building.

- Surfers are always looking
for the next great thing.

- It often breaks those brave
or crazy board riders.

- Severe wipeouts on waves
of mind-boggling heights.

- What happens here happens
nowhere else in the world.

- Biggest wave ever surfed.
- The biggest wave ever--

- The 100-foot wave.

- My childhood was
very unstable

and very unconventional.

I've learned to accept
my childhood.

I got a really amazing ability
to forget

and disregard information
that comes in my brain.

You know, like a computer,
you got the main screen,

you got all the hard drives.

I got a lot of hard drives
back there full of stuff

that I don't even ever access
and don't even remember

or know.

- Garrett was born
in Massachusetts.

His father was
a Latin professor

at a boarding school,
and his mother was,

like, the house mother
for the boarding home.

And they moved to California

'cause his mother
had received an inheritance.

So she took the money
and she bought this property

up in northern California
and started a commune

with a bunch of people.

- Yeah,
we had a weird childhood.

My mom was a little out there.
My dad was a little out there.

- The commune in California
was a dream,

bunch of people,
bunch of friends

who grew our own food.

We did everything together,

lived off the land
sustainably.

- And then Malia was ready
to just leave,

so she told Lawrence, his dad,

and he's like, "Well,
I don't want to go anywhere."

So he said, "I'm staying."

- She left Liam with my father
and took me with her.

We drove a Volkswagon van
from San Francisco all the way

to British Honduras.

- My mom was a free spirit.

That's where she wanted to live

and wanted
to start a life there.

- My mom met this guy.

He was really a jealous,
insecure man.

He was really violent.

- So then Garrett
and his mom escaped,

like, in this rowboat
with crocodiles and stuff.

- Through the mangroves
and the jungle.

- They go back to Berkeley,
get Liam,

and then Malia decides

to join the Christ Family.

- They say they are
the followers

of Jesus Christ
Lightning Amen,

reportedly a former San Diego
building contractor,

and while professing
nonviolence

a fierce vegetarianism,
celibacy,

anti-materialism, and love,

to talk to them is
to invite scathing criticism.

- You come with an open heart,

you're gonna receive nothing
but love.

You come with your arrogance,

you gonna get the hell slapped
out of you.

- They believe their messiah,
Jesus Christ Lightning Amen,

has come to smash
all material things

and all materialists.

- My mother was looking
for God,

and she brought us along
for the ride.

She found the Christ Family
up there in Mount Shasta,

and for some reason,

she liked what they were
saying and had to offer.

- We were traveling up
to watch the Martians fly out

of the top of Mount Shasta.

- We got there, and they
told us to burn everything.

Then she burned whatever
we had,

all of our clothes,
all of our lively possessions.

It was called
the Christ Family,

so we walked the Earth
the same way

Jesus walked.

- It was a pretty crazy journey

as a five, six,
seven-year-old kid.

- We were always trying
to find Christ Lightning Amen,

who was this elusive
cult leader.

We had no transportation,
so we walked barefoot.

And we would walk,
and they would chant,

"No sex, no killing,
no materialism."

And the people would
always yell,

"Well, where'd the kids
come from?"

And my mom would always say,
"Well, that was before."

The people would laugh,
or they would get disgusted.

I mean, it was degrading,
definitely degrading.

- They walked for six months
to a year.

They had no shoes.

They would sleep wherever
they could sleep.

They ate out of trash cans.

- That's how we survived.

Yeah, that's
the childhood part

that I think messes
with me a lot.

You're never really secure.

But long as I have Nicole,
I feel secure, yeah.

Hey, we'll put this set
on that ski.

- Yeah?
- Yeah.

- And that one?
- This ski.

You have a nice new warehouse,
huh?

- Yeah, perfect.
- Come on, fly over.

- I know, me too, so we gotta
have some Skype dates,

so you can keep me on there.

Our idea
for the third year project

was Garrett and friends.

Basically, we need to open
the door to everybody.

- I kept sharing
with all my friends

that we found
this amazing wave.

"You gotta come visit.
You gotta come surf with us."

Nobody came.

Sebastian and Tom Butler were
the first two guys

to bring their own ski
and figure everything out.

- I was over in Ireland

towing in
with Sebastian Steudtner.

We were promised swell
in Ireland.

Didn't really live up
to what the forecast had said,

and we'd seen images of Garrett
and Cotty,

like, in nice sunshine

and huge Nazaré
and no one out.

And we just packed the van
and drove down there,

check it out.

- First time
in Praia do Norte?

- First time here.
- What are you expecting for?

- Well, we went
and had a drive yesterday,

me and Sebastian,
and the beach is crazy.

There's waves coming
from everywhere,

and it's like nothing
I've ever experienced before.

I grew up in a town
called Newquay.

It is the surf mecca
of the UK.

2010 was when I got
into big wave surfing.

I knew Cotty a little bit.

We would always turn up
at the same swells together.

- Hung out in Ireland
when he started

sort of getting into big waves.

He's been British champion
and a big name

in the competition
sort of surfing scene.

- I've been running
this morning,

and I feel kind of ready,
as ready as I can be I think.

I'm gonna focus on the laughs.
- On the laughs.

- I'm a goofy foot, so--
- Okay.

- Ride away from that cliff.
- Yeah, please.

When we arrived,
it was Garrett, Cotty,

and that crew,
and that was it.

Them early days, there was
hardly anyone around.

The lighthouse wasn't open
to the public

the first year I got there.

For a long time,
it was just left uninhabited,

nothing going on with it.

- The lighthouse belonged
to the navy.

Nobody went there.
It was always closed.

It was, like, all a little bit
destroyed and stuff.

- When we arrived in 2010,
we're like, "Okay, well,

"we've got to be able to get
into this lighthouse,

so we can shoot from the roof,
and we can do safety."

- It was tough,
but we got the keys.

When we opened that door
and went in there,

it was 8 feet high
piled with fishnets,

the whole entire lighthouse.

We went up to the top,
and then we looked around

and went,
"This place is magnificent."

- You can feel the energy
from hundreds of years

of the waves beating.

I mean,
it's just pure magic there.

And we're like,
we've got to get this open,

but our city hall friends,
they're like,

"No, no, it's not possible,
not possible."

And Garrett's like,
"Anything's possible.

You just gotta talk
to the right person."

- So we went straight
to the navy,

and they've worked with us
to open the lighthouse.

When we opened it
to the public,

we took all the kids
from the school

and just shared the beauty.

Welcome.

It was a really special moment

because these children
never imagined being able

to go into the lighthouse.

Maybe you can tell them
the history right here.

- It felt good to give back
to the people of Nazaré

'cause they've been really good
to me.

Okay, bye-bye, ciao.

The best experiences
of my life

have happened in Nazaré.

- And now let's say
the big wave is coming.

- That year,
we invited Martin Stepánek.

He's a world record
free diver.

He did this whole survival
course with everybody.

- And take a big inhalation,

and start your dive.

- With our last pool session,

we were gonna do
our longest static breath hold

in the pool.

- Make sure every single muscle
is relaxed.

- I held my breath
for 3 minutes and 15 seconds.

- And breathe.

In front of all
these good friends of ours

and great family,
will you marry me?

That afternoon
we had a photoshoot

with Mercedes on the beach.

Later that night,

I looked down,
and the ring's gone.

I mean, he literally gave it
to me five hours ago.

I'm like, "Oh, fuck."

I have the pictures
from the photoshoot,

so I'm looking at, like,
every picture,

and I can see like,
have the ring, have the ring,

have the ring,
don't have the ring.

So my dad and I go down there
with our phone flashlights.

We couldn't find it,
so then I tell Garrett.

He's like,
"Don't even look for it

"because Mama Nazaré's jealous,
and that ring belongs to her.

If you find it,
I'm throwing back there."

The whole village was
on the beach

looking for this ring.

They had, like,
metal detectors, everything.

We never found the ring,
but the whole time,

Garrett's just sitting there
like, "If you find it,

I'm literally
throwing it back."

- Just let me know
when you find it, okay?

- I grew up, like,
in a very serious environment.

I am super responsible.

The most irresponsible thing
I've ever done

in my entire life is be
with Garrett.

We met in Puerto Rico
at a charity event.

An hour after talking,
he's like,

"I have to tell you
something.

I'm married."

And I said, "Well, so am I."

I had just gotten married
13 days ago,

which isn't cool, but I mean,

it was just--there was nothing
we could do about it.

It was like no one existed
to us but each other.

We really both truly left
our lives.

For the first three years,

we just had our bag
of clothes,

and we just traveled
around the world.

There was just, like,
this energy of Garrett

of anything's possible.

There's no parameters to life.

It was just this beautiful,

just freedom, really.

- No way.

- At the lighthouse.

- It's a busy day for you,
Garrett.

His idea was to surf a wave,
and, like, surf into the beach

and then sort of James Bond
style pull off his wetsuit,

and be ready in his suit
ready for the wedding.

- Surfed all day, 20-foot,
glassy.

- We had an invite
to the ceremony,

but the waves were pumping,

so we kind of carried on
surfing.

- Came in, got ready,
and went to the lighthouse,

set everything up perfect,
and then Nicole came down

in this cool little car,

and her dad was there
to walk her in.

- They asked me
to conduct the ceremony.

It was an amazing moment.

- The team was all there.

- We were all sharing
the same experience, you know?

Like, it was kind of magical.

- The energy of that team was--
we were a family for sure.

- Think it's gonna work
'cause she's crazy.

- I know it's gonna work.

- Since Nicole came
on the scene,

my brother changed a lot.

He's more connected.

That's how he is now.
That's the new Garrett.

Me and Garrett both
love each other a lot,

and we're very happy
for each other's successes.

But we weren't
the most supportive brothers.

1976, we left Christ Family,

and my mom said,
"We're moving to Hawaii."

Our mom brought us here
to the north shore of Oahu,

and we were
in a one-bedroom apartment.

We had carpet luckily,
so that's what we slept on.

We met a kid
in the neighborhood.

It was his birthday,
and he asked his mom

to go surfing
for his birthday.

- It was Butchy boy,
Butchy Wong,

and it was right down the road.

Butchy's dad let us
take his kneeboards out,

and the first few waves
we got,

we weren't gonna do it
on our knees.

We stood right up.

It was love.

- Our first board was
a longboard,

and we cut the middle
out of it

and fiberglass-ed it
back together,

so we could have a small board.

We were definitely close
when we were young.

In elementary school, we used
to get picked on a lot,

and Garrett actually had
to come, and back me up,

and fight a few times.

But once Garrett went off
to high school,

he started having new friends.

- We were really mean to Liam
when he was young.

- He would ditch me
and go hang out,

and I'd be jealous or pissed
because they didn't invite me

'cause I was
the younger brother.

- We got him so mad
that he would just rage

to catch us, and we'd run,
so he wouldn't catch us and...

- I made
some different friends

and would basically live
at friends' houses.

One time, I was 15,
we were partying

and got arrested,

and I got put
in juvenile home.

They called my house.

Garrett answered the phone,

and he was partying
at our house,

and he just kind of laughed
and hung up the phone

when I was in jail as a kid.

He didn't do nothing
to help me.

In 1988, I was a finalist
in surfing competition

at Sunset Beach,
and I turned pro.

- Back then,
if you accept any money,

you're automatically
a professional surfer.

I won $250 at Sunset,
$250 at Pipe,

gladly accepted it,
and oh, my God,

I'm a pro surfer.

- We were very competitive
with each other.

We'd be out in the water,

and me and Garrett would kind
of butt heads for waves.

- I wouldn't go out
when he was out.

Just 'cause he took every wave,

and I didn't see any point
in being out there

when the wave was gonna
come to me,

and he was gonna take it.

- For those first five,
ten years,

I made a name for myself,

and he was kind of
in the shadows

for some years there.

- I've known Garrett McNamara
since probably the '80s.

I was the editor of "Surfing"
magazine back then.

Really, it was his brother

who was the loudmouth,
obnoxious, really good surfer.

- Liam was so focused
and so hungry.

He would not back down
to anybody.

The gnarliest, heaviest guy
on the island could be

sitting here, and Liam would
paddle around him

and take his wave.

- Yeah, he wasn't
my favorite guy in the lineup.

Yeah, you get guys
that are aggressive,

and they keep paddle--you're
sitting there.

You're waiting, you're waiting.
They get a great wave.

You think, I'm next, and then
he paddles right behind you,

and starts yelling,
"I got it, I got it, I got it!"

- People kind of looked at me
as the Dennis Rodman

or John McEnroe of the sport
of surfing.

- He was always coming and yell
at the judges,

trying to break
the judge's stand.

- My reputation got
pretty bad.

- Liam was very full
of himself

and, from what I understand,
not a lot of fun to surf with,

but he became very well known.

- I did have photos of Liam
on my wall when I was a kid,

Gath helmet, visor down,
either getting tubed at Pipe

or doing, like,
weird straight airs.

You know,
with the full visor down.

- Yeah, that was part
of his costume.

He suited up and would go
into battle.

I was amazed that he could
wear that shield

with the tin in it, still pull
in the tube and come out,

but he did it quite well.

- He was one of the most
photographed surfers

in the world
for about ten years.

- So Liam was
the known McNamara brother.

- I won the Pipe Master Trials
three years in a row.

- Yeah, it was...

challenging to see him
do so well,

and I just got the scraps.

- Garrett wasn't that great
of a competitor.

I don't think he enjoyed it
as much as I did.

- Nobody really knew of me,
and if they did,

it was,
"Oh, that's Liam's brother."

- Yeah, I think
he had a little jealousy

and a little animosity.

- Slowly, Garrett just started
charging more,

and a little bit more,
and a little bit more.

Then we were like,
"Oh, my God, this guy's crazy."

He just quietly
surpassed Liam.

- You're out there surfing
with your brother.

You see him get barreled.

You want
to get a better barrel.

You see him do an off the lip.

You want to do
a heavier off the lip.

You see him catch a big wave.

You want to catch
an even bigger one.

It just so happens now
my brother's finally caught

bigger ones than I catch.

- My brother Liam pretty much
focuses his career

on Pipeline and Rockies.

Myself, I've tried to get away
from everybody,

and hide out
on the outer reefs,

and just enjoy giant waves.

- A couple of the waves

he caught were
life-changing moments,

and he had a few of them all
within a span of 24 months.

- Garrett was able
to get the cover

of "Surfing" magazine twice
in a year

and became a worldwide name,

so I brought the name up here,

and then as I started
to come down,

Garrett brought the name
up here.

At one point,
I was blackballed

by a bunch
of the surfing industry.

They wouldn't shoot photos
with me.

They wouldn't put me
in the magazines.

I was causing havoc,

but that's the only thing
I knew to do,

and there was
a few years there

where Garrett kind of didn't
want to be my brother.

He didn't want
to damage his reputation.

- Did that bother you
at the time?

- Um...

yeah, I mean, when your brother
doesn't back you up...

I was in the Pipe Masters
one year,

and I broke my leash,
lost my board,

and ultimately lost the event.

Then I remember specifically
telling my wife, like,

"My brother wasn't there
for me.

I wish my brother was there."

We would go a year and maybe
talk two or three times.

It was pretty tough
to be around him sometimes.

- They love each other.
They're brothers.

But we don't hang out.

We don't have Christmas
together.

We don't...

we're not close.

- From 40 to 45,
I kind of struggled

to stay in shape,
to stay in the game.

Maybe about five years ago,
I went out,

and my mind thought
I could do it,

but my body wouldn't allow me
to do it,

and I almost died,

so that's kind of
when I gave up.

And I decided
to put my family first

and realized that I needed
to retire.

I don't have any regrets.

In the end, I was able
to make a living as a surfer.

When you look at the numbers
of people

who are successful
in surfing careers,

it's very, very rare.

- Losing my main sponsor
was tough, you know, like--

I mean, I had, like,
a seven-year relationship.

It felt like I was
in a--you know,

thought it was like
a lifetime, you know?

It's like being dumped
by a hot girlfriend.

- The way you survive
off surfing is

getting sponsors
to pay you a salary,

hopefully
a three-year contract,

usually one-year but
potentially ten-year contracts.

And then every year
you gotta produce something.

- Mommy.

- An expensive dream.

Everything, like
the jet skis are expensive.

The flights last minute
to anywhere are expensive.

If you don't have anyone,

you know, sponsor you
or support you,

then who's gonna pay for it?

You know,
I've got a family and a wife,

and it's like, what do you do,
you know?

There's loads of action
in the Atlantic.

All of it's red.

It means there's a lot of swell
out there.

It's almost like you got
to be there, right?

It's frustrating.

It'd be nice to, you know,
money's not an object,

and you can do whatever
you want whenever you want,

but you can't afford to be
on every swell,

so you just need to be
on the right swells.

- There's a long interval,

so we can get out--see
how you gotta run?

Brap, brap, brap!
- Yeah, yeah, yeah.

- January 2013,
a big swell popped up.

Cotty couldn't be there,

so we decided
to bring Keali'i Mamala,

who was Garrett's tow partner
when I met him.

- See how it backs off,
backs off.

It's so weird.
- Weird, I know.

I've never seen anything
like this.

- Look at this--
whoo-hoo-hoo-hoo!

- Oh! What!

- I wasn't entering the WSL,

so I didn't have to get

the biggest wave
or the best wave.

I was just going back
to have fun.

- Let's find out
the count.

If it's already peak,

then we gotta get
whatever's there.

If it's still coming,

from 9:00 till 12:00 can we
maybe break.

- Yeah, the high tide's gonna
be better.

- Yes.
- Even to paddle.

- Yes.

We hired a really good
still photographer,

and he was working
under Jorge Leal,

so Jorge Leal put him up
on the school

where you can get
the good picture,

and he set up his video camera
next to him.

- We knew at the time
all the best places.

None came close to that one,
not even close.

I was so proud of that angle
and that wave of Garrett.

- Photo was
the most beautiful photo ever.

Surfer-wise, it was not worth
even talking about.

The wave didn't really break.

- Garrett, being
traditional surfer, like,

"That wave did not break.

"Don't you guys dare
put anything out there.

It's not a real wave."

Like, he did not want us
to do anything with that wave

but pretend it didn't happen.

- So I told them,
"Don't do anything with it."

The photographer sent it
straight to "Surfer Europe."

They write this big caption,

"Garrett claims to have
surfed the 100-foot wave."

And I see this,
and I'm just like, "What the--"

- Get ready for what seems
to be the biggest wave

ever surfed,
as high as 100 feet.

- Yep, that tiny dot is
Garrett McNamara,

dwarfed by probably
the biggest wave ever surfed.

- The media picked it up,
and they said it was 100 feet,

and as Garrett's manager,

if they want
to call it 100 feet,

I'm not gonna stop 'em.

- 100-foot wave,
Garrett McNamara.

- That wave wasn't 100 feet.

I didn't ride a 100-foot wave,

and the whole world thinks
I rode a 100-foot wave.

- Guy's name is
Garrett McNamara.

He's 45...

- I remember looking
on the news.

I just, like, blown it.

I should've like...
I should've been there.

You know, like,
I just was pretty gutted.

- The photo of you on that wave
is unbelievable.

How did it feel?
What was the ride like?

- My feet were popping
out of the straps.

It just felt...

Really, really similar
to snowboarding...

I was thinking, "Make it,
gotta make this."

I didn't realize it
until the very end

that I was almost on the rocks
when it kicked out...

- In three years, we built
the North Canyon Project.

In the beginning,
it belonged to a few of us.

With that picture,
it was basically done.

Finally, the people started
to understand the potential

of our waves.

Now Nazaré belongs
to the world, you know?

I've done my job.

- That was the biggest swell
that we caught here,

and that was, like,
the biggest wave of the day.

- I was with my team
in Brazil.

I saw one interview
with Garrett.

He told in the interview,

"Nazaré is the biggest wave
in the world."

Let's go there and see,
you know?

- It's not
a low budget project.

We need jet skis.

You have to spend time there,

especially back in the time,

it didn't have
much infrastructure.

- It felt very exciting to be
here with very few surfers.

Was like a diamond, you know,
in the world

that I couldn't believe
people weren't

all over this place yet.

Nobody had, like, a base here.

Nobody was really dedicated
to the place.

You know, you had Garrett
with three years of experience

and a lot of, you know,
respect for the place,

but us coming in
didn't really know how

to handle the situation.

- I was stoked
that people came,

but I was really worried.

I surfed with Maya a bunch
all over the world.

She was probably the hardest
charging woman around,

and she trained harder
than everybody,

so she was ready.

The thing
that really worried me,

they didn't come to us
for advice.

We were making all the rules
with the city hall

and with the navy.

To go out there,
you need a ski to tow

and a safety ski,

and you need communication
with a spotter on the cliff.

But we are not responsible
when they hit the water.

- First time I saw Nazaré
really big was

October 28th of 2013.

I saw this one wave,
and I just thought,

"No, how can it be?"

Like, how can a wave be
breaking there?

Like, that's the lineup?

- I went to Jaws.
I went to Mavericks.

I went to the biggest waves
in the world,

but I never saw nothing
like that.

It was like a movie or
something like this, you know?

This terror movie.

- We heard a lot about
they backed off

the shore break.

We were used to shore breaks

because we come from Brazil,
you know?

Brazil is a place
of shore breaks.

But Nazaré was
totally different.

It was more powerful.

- You have all kinds
of directions coming in.

You have the bank,
and you have the cliff.

- With those elements,

you're never
on the safety zone in Nazaré.

But I knew that was gonna
be doable.

- They had no idea
what they were dealing with.

If they come to me,
I would share everything

that I learned there.

They didn't ask
one single question,

not one.

- We just wanted to do it,
you know,

because that's the way

we've been doing for so long.

You know, you gotta go
and learn for yourself.

You gotta put time in.
You gotta earn.

- As soon as we got out
of the harbor,

we went as fast
as possible to the peak

and started surfing.

- Gordo caught a wave
with Carlos.

- It was a huge wave,
and he did very well.

And then I got back
to the lineup,

and we met with Maya
and Pedro again,

and everybody wanted to surf.

- I said to Maya,
"Go with Carlos, no problem,

and ladies first."

- I drove her for one wave,

and she didn't
let the rope go.

I drove her to another wave,

and she didn't
let the rope go.

Then the third wave,
same thing.

And then I looked at her
and said,

"Surf if you want to surf."

- A big set came in.
We were driving towards it.

- I said, "Hey, Maya.
The left, it's amazing.

It's yours."

And she let the rope go.

- I remember kind of falling
on my back

and kind of seeing
the wave covering me.

I popped up, and nobody was
around to pick me up.

- I was on the lighthouse
doing safety that day,

and it was just--it was a mess.

They didn't have
adequate safety at all.

They had nobody on the cliff

telling the driver
where to go,

and he went
the opposite direction.

- I couldn't find her,
you know?

So I was going around,
and then I start to listen

to people whistling
and screaming.

- I was, like, in that foam,
and then I just, boom,

took this huge,
huge wave on the head.

I blacked out of the impact,

and my life jacket popped
over my head.

I stayed under
for a long, long time

and underwater
regained consciousness,

and when I popped up,

I couldn't really
breathe anymore,

and he finally came to me.

- He comes to pick her up,

and pretty much runs her over
with the ski.

- You know,
the last sense we lose

before dying is hearing.

So I couldn't see.
I wasn't there really anymore.

But I remember his voice
really loudly.

- And I said, "Just grab
the rope a little bit.

I'll pull you a little bit
closer to the shore.

- My last strength went
into grabbing that rope.

- And he's, like,
dragging her underwater,

and then she passes out,
and she's just drowning.

- He grabs her, and he
brings her to the beach.

- She died almost here,
you know,

and he was reanimating her.

- I ran to the beach,

and it's the lifeguard
and Carlos,

and I just remember him
looking at me.

He's like, "She's dead.
She's dead."

And then all of a sudden,
this huge set comes

and just washes all of us,
including her body,

up the beach.

Paramedics came at that point.

- She started to move her hand
a little bit,

and that caught my attention,

and I said,
"Okay, she's moving."

- So then they put her
in the ambulance.

Meanwhile, Carlos runs back
to the beach and goes,

"Help me get my ski in!"

- I can't get involved
with my emotions.

I have to think
about my training.

I have to follow my protocol,

and I have
to deliver my mission.

I got a team.
I'm here.

I'm here
to surf the biggest waves

of my life with my team.

I'm gonna do that.

- So then he gets the jet ski,
runs it back to the harbor,

and goes back out,

and he does get one
of the waves of the day.

- Was my biggest day
I had ever had a chance

to surf at Nazaré,
so it was successful,

but still, you know,
we had something

that wasn't in our plans,

but that happens
when you are surfing big waves.

- These are very dangerous
waters, aren't they?

So why do surfers take
these deadly risks?

- Well, as a big wave rider,
you know,

our objective is to be safe.

If you get hit by the wave
after you've been riding it,

we call that wiping out,
and that's a failed attempt

in the school that I went to.

And Maya,
she doesn't have the skill

to be in these conditions,

and I feel like
it's Carlos' responsibility

to take care of her,
and he's just lucky

that she didn't drown.

- Yeah, I mean, he did take
care of her, didn't he?

- I was very hurt at the time.

Of course, you know,
I'm an athlete.

I get seriously injured
doing my job,

and the first thing
that comes out of one

of our icons' mouth is,
"You shouldn't be out there."

As a human on intensive care,
I expected to hear,

"I wish her the best,
speedy recovery."

But you know, I think
emotions were flying high.

- You hate to offend anybody,

but when you see the footage
of these wrecks,

and you hear these injuries,
that's a warning sign.

You better be prepared
and know what

you're getting yourself into

when you go
into these conditions.

- Somebody literally
almost died.

Like, she was dead.
They brought her back to life.

You know, at that point,
you think, it's like,

"Well, why are you doing this?"

And I remember thinking
how selfish they are,

and if you want to do this,
that's fine,

but then you shouldn't
have a wife,

and you shouldn't have kids.

- But I didn't expect anything
like this to happen.

- Okay, I'm glad
you're prepared for it.

- I'm prepared for it.
- But nobody else was.

- Well, they're going
in the wrong spot--

- I'm gonna go.
- And pushing the limits of--

- I'm gonna go.

- It was the third year,

and that was the worst
accident we had seen.

- I did kind of feel
responsible

because I was the one who
pretty much brought everybody

to Nazaré.

Big wave surfing's dangerous,

and this place here is
more challenging

than any wave in the world.

- That place can tell you
that you're not prepared.

So I think every team started
to understand that

and copy our system.

- All swells booming down
to Portugal with no wind,

no wind for, like,
a whole day,

which is what I've been
waiting for.

So I literally just
booked a flight,

and we'll be in the sea
before it gets light.

I was on the brink
of reapplying

for full-time jobs, you know,
going down that road,

and luckily, Katie--we talked
about it.

She sort of said, "Go with
your heart and your passion,

and things work out."

But it was a huge gamble.

Full of anticipation,
you know?

Just want to get out there.

As a surfer,
the session wasn't great,

but the video footage just
looks nuts, you know?

People were tagging it, like,
"Biggest wave ever."

And then it wasn't
till I'd return, flown home.

Tuesday morning I woke up,

and it was just like carnage.

- And our Instant Index tonight
begins with a man

who is a plumber by trade

but riding into history.
Look at this...

- We go live via Skype
to Braunton in Devon.

There he is.
He is Andrew Cotton, and son.

- The media ran with it,

which was great
for his career.

He was able to quit plumbing.

- The wave got entered
into the biggest wave category

at the Billabong XXL Awards.

The XXL awards is important
for a surfer, you know?

- I was super happy for him.

I couldn't wait to see him win.

- The winner of 2014 XXL
biggest wave award is

Gautier Garanx.

Photo by Eric Bellande.

The wave was 62 feet.

- I kind of had an inkling
that I wouldn't win, really.

Always had doubt,
and, you know,

the story's too--it would've
been too perfect, you know.

- He didn't win.
It was a bummer.

- When we got back in 2015,

we really wanted to create
something on our own.

So we created
the "Red Chargers."

- It was about the surfers
that look for the red blobs

on the map and go charge.

- The whole goal
of the "Red Chargers" is

to put a face to these people
on the waves,

which is different
than what most

of the big waves sites do.

You know, usually it is--the
focus is just the wave,

and you don't even know
what the person looks like.

And all of these guys and women
have an incredible story.

You know, they've had to
overcome a lot

to follow their dreams.

That is our goal is for all
of you to know them as people,

not just as--

- The little dot.
- The little dot.

- It wasn't a contest.
It was a free surf.

And it was really
to showcase the underdogs.

We filmed all winter.

Try and mark where he is
right now.

That's the spot,
right where Hugo is.

Right there, that's the wave!

Look at this one, Cotty.

- The idea was
to have a little video

about each surfer,

really tell their stories.

- How'd it go out there?

- It was fun, yeah.

That's what surfing's about,
isn't it?

Fun.
That's super fun.

- At that time,
Garrett was training hard

and just surfing more
than he's ever surfed.

- He was on fire, and
he got a lot of good waves.

- I was at the peak
of my career physically,

mentally,
with all of my partners,

sponsors, friends.

We had everything
going so well.

Barrel!
- Is that your dada?

Sick Barrel, Dad.
- Whoo-hoo.

And I realized for years,
I had put all my energy

into Portugal,

and then once I accomplished
everything

I wanted
to accomplish there...

Where's your style?
Where's your style?

Where's your style?

I was so ready
to surf the world again.

Magic Stick,
this thing is so beautiful.

This is what I'm gonna ride
at Mavs.

- There was world tour
of big wave surfing

at that time,
best big wave spots,

and there was gonna be
a contest at each spot.

How they determine
who's invited is

what is up for discussion.

Garrett was not on the list
for the Mavericks contest.

He calls the director
and is like,

"Hey, I want to be
in the contest.

"I've been at Mavericks
many times.

I've put my time in there."

They said you gotta be
at every swell

if you want to be invited
to this contest.

He was just on a mission to be
at every swell

at Mavericks
and prove himself.

And this swell popped up.

He was just gonna go
for the day.

After being in Nazaré
five years,

Mavericks was a cakewalk.

I was in a really good place.
I felt super confident.

The forecast was
a little sketchy,

like, there was gonna be wind,
no wind, wind, no wind.

So I was one of the only guys
that went.

I was so happy.

Ready, Fonso?
- Yeah.

- Let's do it!
- Let's go.

- I paddled out past everybody
and sat there,

and boom,
a set came right to me.

I turn around.
I take a couple casual strokes.

Chh, chh.

Stood up,

and then everything just
kind of went wrong.

- Oh, my God.

Oh!

- He's down!

Before Mavericks,

when I crushed my shoulder,
there was no fear.

I don't know what
it's going to be like

when I get back out there.

The wave that I've
been dreaming about for years

is actually on the map.

Now it's time to get serious,
time to train hard.

I knew that someone was gonna
get one of the biggest waves

of the year, for sure.

I don't fear dying.

I get more fearful
of not being able to surf.

I fear that.

Katie.
Hi.

We got bad news.
Padi got hurt.