Garrett McNamara entered the Guinness World Records for riding a 78-foot wave in 2011, only to top that feat a couple of years later with a monster estimated at almost 100 feet. Then, last January, McNamara wiped out on a 50-footer, shattering his shoulder into nine pieces. He underwent two surgeries and has been at home with his wife, Nicole, and his sons Titus, 18, and Barrel, 1, recovering with a combination of physical therapy, a Filipino style of martial arts known as escrima, and lomilomi—not to mention the decidedly unappetizing shots of fermented noni, a malodorous fruit known for its curative properties, which he swigs several times a day. McNamara’s memoir, Hound of the Sea, will be out in August, but don’t take that as a sign of retirement. “I have a metal plate in my shoulder now,” he says. “The doctors think I could end up having even more strength than before.”
Garrett McNamara, with his sons Titus and Barrel, wears his own wetsuit.
Interview by Armand Limnander