HBO Sports and big wave surfer Garrett McNamara lead us on perhaps the best sports story after Jeff and Michael Zimbalist’s “Momentum Generation.” “100 Foot Wave” comes highly recommended for lovers of surfing or extreme sports in general. 

The show currently has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Similarly, on IMDb the show is rated 8.1 out of 10. This article covers all the latest info on “100 Foot Wave.”

Where Can You Watch “100 Foot Wave?”

Catch all the episodes of the six-part series on HBO Max or Hulu Premium. You can also stream the series when you rent or purchase it on Amazon Prime Video

What Is “100 Foot Wave” About?

Garrett McNamara is on an audacious lifetime mission to surf the weirdest of waves — the 100-foot wave. Waves of this kind don’t come around all the time but it seems McNamara has found a surfing destination where such waves are commonplace.

“I love surfing,” says surfing pioneer McNamara. “It’s where I belong when it’s really big and giant. … And the pursuit has just been to find the 100-foot wave. And it was just by fluke that the locals in Nazare (Portugal) emailed me to come see if they had a big wave. And we found out that it was the biggest wave I’ve ever seen,” he added.

In “100 Foot Wave,” McNamara’s mission leads him to a tiny fishing village called Nazaré in Portugal — the Mecca of giant waves. This time around HBO follows Garrett McNamara’s quest, giving lovers of extreme sports the pleasure of seeing him surf the heaving swells live. 

“100 Foot Wave” premiered on HBO July 18, 2021. 

The documentary series is directed and executive produced by Chris Smith and co-EPs Golden Globe® winner Joe Lewis, Maria Zuckerman, and Ryan Heller. Other executive producers on the series include Michael Bloom, Nancy Abraham, and Lisa Heller. 

Did Garrett McNamara Ride a “100 Foot Wave?”

If there is one thing the brand name Garrett McNamara is known for, then it is surfing monster waves. In 2011, McNamara broke the Guinness World Record for Largest Wave Surfed at 78 feet. Two years later, McNamara is said to have beaten his record riding a wave that stood at a staggering height of 100ft — however, this is unconfirmed by Guinness World Records.

It should be noted that it takes more than just a declaration by the surfer to claim these records — the claim has to be verified. 

The TV series “100 Foot Wave” is so named because the main character Garrett McNamara is on a quest to ride that high again — a mission he has yet to accomplish. This is largely due to the fact that it’s beyond human control to determine when a wave rises as high as the surfer desires to ride.

Perhaps this explains why the show was renewed for a second season. 

100 Foot Wave poster

How Many Episodes are There in “100 Foot Wave?”

The first season of “100 Foot Wave” includes the following six episodes:

Chapter I – Sea Monsters: 

Despite his age, the legendary big wave surfer Garrett McNamara begins “tow surfing,” which involves jet skis in order to ride bigger and more dangerous waves. Garrett is contacted by a resident of Nazaré Portugal, who wants to entice him to come to see the huge waves that crash onto the shore of Nazaré. In Nazaré, McNamara assembles a crew of like-minded surfers in the hopes of riding the mythical 100-foot wave.

Chapter II – We’re Not Surfers

For another season, McNamara and his crew return to Nazaré for surfing. The crew experiences a slew of mishaps and challenges, but eventually, they develop a set of safety procedures that allows them to surf Nazaré’s wave with decreased danger of death or injury. When McNamara surfs a nearly 80-foot tall wave that propels him to international acclaim and world record holder, he learns the importance of perseverance.

Chapter III – Mavericks

After failing to find new inspiration in Nazaré, McNamara decides to return to competitive surfing at other big-wave spots. To compete in a tournament at California’s Mavericks surf spot, he must surf there on a regular basis, something he has done many times previously. Only a few months later, he returns to the Mavericks, where he suffers an awful accident on a wave that should have been a cinch.

Chapter IV – Dancing With God

Following his injuries at Mavericks, McNamara recuperates and begins preparing for another season in Nazaré. At the G-Land site in Indonesia, Garrett sustains additional injuries that jeopardize his ability to surf. Meanwhile, an acquaintance of Garret’s breaks the world record when he surfs an 80-foot wave at Nazare. McNamara vows to continue his quest for a 100-foot wave.

Chapter V – The Circus

Despite the fact that dozens of the world’s best surfers have gathered in Nazaré to train and prepare for a major big-wave event, Garret continues to battle with his bodily injuries and mental preparedness. He is not yet ready to compete in the competition, but seeing the other surfers whets his appetite. Garrett also expresses reservations about the competition’s safety plans and attempts to persuade the organizers to improve them.

Chapter VI – More Than Just a Wipeout

On the day of the Nazaré competition, Garrett opts not to compete but to assist his long-time friend and teammate Andrew “Cotty” Cotton instead. The competition is rocky from the start, with a catastrophic accident that has secondary implications for Cotty. Garrett goes back to Nazaré again after the contest, where he attempts big-wave surfing for the first time. The episode concludes with retrospectives from several of the surfers who made previous appearances throughout the season.

About Garrett McNamara on “100 Foot Wave”

Garrett McNamara

Born August 10, 1967, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Garrett McNamara is a professional surfer with a career that now spans over four decades. 

McNamara’s story is one of the most inspiring stories around. From a young boy living in Hawaii to a TV celebrity in one of the most-watched sports shows on screen.

McNamara was a kid when his family moved to Hawaii. “We lived in, what they call, ‘The Armpit of the North Shore.’ It’s called Cement City. And it’s real small apartments, low-income housing,” he recounts. Sometimes, life hands us tough situations, but how we handle it can be the game-changer. McNamara achieved the professional surfer status by chance at 17. 

According to him, “I was getting ready to graduate and I was really afraid of what I was going to be for the rest of my life and what kind of a career I was going to have.”

“When we went to school, there was a right to school and a left to the beach, and I went left a lot, so my grades weren’t that good. And I contemplated flunking that year so I could stay in school one more year to figure out what I could do with my life. And, luckily, my sponsor at the time put me in this surf contest, a professional event that I’d never been in.”

Surprisingly, McNamara won the contest, earning a whopping $250. This was the beginning of McNamara’s pro surfing career. In 2002, McNamara won the Tow Surfing World Cup in Maui. 

Today, McNamara holds an eight-time Guinness World Record — largest wave ever surfed. 

His adventure in Nazaré, Portugal has earned him the Vasco de Gama Medal of Honor — presented to him by the Portuguese Navy.

Big-wave surfing comes with risks. In the wake of 2016, McNamara suffered a near wipeout while surfing a 50-foot tall wave build-up at the Mavericks beach, California. The fall was declared by the media as one of the “deadliest” to have been caught on tape. Years later, McNamara is back surfing waters.

He is married to Nicole and they both have three kids. The couple lives in Hawaii but shuttle between Hawaii and Portugal.

Garrett McNamara - 100 Foot Wave

About Other Cast Members On “100 Foot Wave”

Garrett McNamara is not the only one involved in this adventure. He is in the company of his wife and other sea monsters seeking to ride the highest wave of their career.

Here’s a quick introduction to the other cast members on the docuseries. 

Nicole McNamara:

Nicole and Garrett McNamara - 100 Foot Wave

Nicole and Garrett McNamara

Nicole McNamara joins her husband Garrett McNamara in his adventure to surf great and massive waves. Nicole is McNamara’s manager. At the top of Nicole’s role is to look out for when a monster wave is building up and to alert the jet-ski drivers who tow her husband. Nicole recounts the importance of her role in a chat with Deadline’s Matthew Carey. “They can’t even see sometimes when the waves are coming — they’re in the troughs of these waves,” Nicole remarked. “So, having that spotter is super important, and having a spotter who knows what they’re talking about and has the attention span to pay attention because there’s a lot of downtime out there, just waiting.”

Andrew Cotton:

Andrew Cotton - 100 Foot Wave

“100 Foot Wave” also puts the spotlight on other unsung monster wave surfers — British pro surfer and top-level athlete Cotty is one of such. Cotton was McNamara’s surfing buddy for many years at the Portuguese break. The six-episode documentary chronicles how Cotton transitioned from part-time plumbing into being one of the foremost big-wave surfers. 

Justine Dupont:

Justin Dupont - 100 Foot Wave

France’s Justine Dupont is another pro surfer we got to meet on “100 Foot Wave.” Dupont was born in Bordeaux, France. She began surfing at age 11 in Lacanau. Dupont is considered one of the most versatile females in the world of tow surfing. Some of her achievements include Multiple time World Champion of the XXL Awards, four-time Vice World Champion, and 2019 World Champion Stand Up Paddle. Similarly, in 2017, she won the ISA World Team Surfing competition with the French team.

Al Mennie:

Al Mennie - 100 Foot Wave

Irish surfer and writer Al Mennie is famed as one of the surfers who launched boats and jet-skiing in Ireland. He has represented the Irish National Surf Team several times. He is also named among the all-time best big-wave surfers. Mennie is one of the surfers featured on “100 Foot Wave.”

Maya Gabeira:

Maya Gabeira - 100 Foot Wave

33-year-old Brazilian tow-in surfer Maya Gabeira is the second most featured surfer on “100 Foot Wave.” Gabeira and tow partner, Sebastian Steudtner were among the earliest surfers to join McNamara in Nazaré. In 2013, Gabeira had a near-death experience when she was caught in the middle of a 50-foot wave. She was away from surfing for four years. In 2018 she got back to the sports and set a 68-foot wave world record for women. Two years later, Gabeira took part in the Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge where she beat her own record and set a Guinness World Record of 73.5 feet (22.4 meters), the largest surfed by any female. She is described in many circles as one of the top three women in the sport.

Kai Lenny:

Kai Lenny - 100 Foot Wave

Hawaiian surfer Kai Lenny is also on the series seeking to ride that once-in-a-lifetime 100-foot. While that goal is still out of sight, the extreme sports athlete has set a personal record of 70-foot. He is the youngest inductee into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame.

Learn More About Your Favorite Movies and Shows on BuddyTV

HBO renewed “100 Foot Wave” for a second season late last year. The show is yet to premiere. BuddyTV will bring you updates as soon as the premiere date is out. In the meantime, check out BuddyTV for other articles about your favorite movies and tv shows.

Heather Reinblatt

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV