QnA: Garrett McNamara on OJ Simpson, Nelscott Reef and the downward spiral of paddle surfing.
As the tow-in discipline of professional surfing continues to near critical mass, surfers such as Garrett McNamara spin the world, motoring out into treacherous, otherworldly waves with the power a Union-Pacific freight train in Tahiti, South America, California and Hawaii. As McNamera attributed to, it’s that time again: winter in California. Being a self-proclaimed “man in a suitcase”, McNamera, 39-years-old, has now set up shop in San Diego. Keen to dive into his arsenal of on-line tactical weapons, McNamara now snake eyes the buoys, winds, tides and swell directions of the Pacific, waiting for the big one. Swinging through Carlsbad, California before heading north for this weekend’s recently green lighted Nelscott Reef Tow-in Classic in Oregon, we cornered McNamara to get his take on big wave holiday season. Garrett, never one to be at a loss for words, was able to cover a lot of ground throughout the conversation.
Garrett, what are you doing here in San Diego?
I was here for the Arby’s Action Sports Award Awards. I was up for the biggest wipeout award (Note: Called Best Slam).
Did you win the award?
No. From what I saw of their wipeouts, my wipeout didn’t even belong in the category. Those guys… The skaters and moto guys, they had some heavy, heavy wipeouts.
Maybe they thought the same thing about your wipeout?
I don’t think so. No way.
Did they pick a winner in the category?
It was a motorcycle guy that won, I think. Yeah, the Metal Mulisha guy — Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg (Note: Who broke both legs in winning the dubiously named Best Slam award category).
Did you have fun at the Arby’s Awards?
It was awesome. They had all these people passing out the awards. People like Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal, Tom Green, Pamela Anderson, Paris Hilton and the Jackass guys were there putting something on. I had a good time just watching. I’m a people watcher!
Come to think of it, you’ve been involved in a few award shows this year, haven’t you?
Yeah, I won the Surfer Poll Award for the Worst Wipeout at Shark Park. I wasn’t there, though, I was in North Carolina teaching autistic children how to surf. I’m really committed to that, otherwise I would have been there. So I had my brother show-up on my behalf. Not too many people know there’s another McNamara out there.
You kind of do all the talking for both of you?
No, he does his own thing. He lives in Brentwood. We actually went golfing with O.J. the other day in Brentwood.
Yeah, because he lives right there in Brentwood.
How was that?
Crazy. It was heavy…. No! I’m only joking! Everybody believes that one because of Brentwood! (Hard laughter).
You had me there… back to the surfing world, what have you been up to?
I’ve actually been working with Stuart Parr of Shady World productions. He produced 8 Mile and Get Rich or Die Triyn’. We’re doing a feature film right now. Basically, it’s about the whole history of surfing. It all revolves around the surfboard. It starts with the first surfboard ever found and goes up to the latest and greatest technology, which we ride. We ride a surfboard made out of nickel. We rode it in Chile, Japan and in Tahiti. The thing works good and we’ve been getting barreled everywhere. The production crew is really good and super-fun. The film is produced by Happy Ending Production. When the film is done we’re going to the Guggenheim, which is in New York, in January for a showcasing of the metal board, the waves we’ve ridden, and a little trailer of the movie.