This week’s conversation is with Garrett McNamara, an international big wave explorer known for discovering, pioneering and surfing the biggest wave in the world  – The Everest of the Oceans – Nazaré, Portugal.

Garrett also lead the iconic two-man team who rode tsunami waves generated by a 300ft calving glacier in Alaska and is the first and only foreigner to receive the Vasco da Gama Medal of Honor from the Portuguese Navy for his contributions to Portugal.

He currently lives between Hawaii and Portugal with his family where he and his wife run the McNamara Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on providing children meaningful nature experiences, creating life long stewards of the Earth.

In this conversation Garrett shares some incredible stories from his upbringing – which help make sense of how he became the man he is today.

Garrett is known in the surf world for being a pioneer and a master of his craft.

“It all comes down to following your heart. Let your heart guide you.”

In This Episode:

  • The way his early childhood shaped him… constantly moved around, wild adventures, incredible freedom, very few boundaries and dysfunction
  • How does somebody who is world class at risk taking in consequential environments cut his teeth?
  • The only part of his childhood he blocked out … because it was too intense
  • His philosophy: make conscious choices to love yourself
  • What was early worldview? That life is a playground
  • His working definition of luck
  • His spiritual framework
  • What it’s like surfing the wave “Jaws”
  • How he got better at being uncomfortable
  • His relationship with his gut… how intuition plays a role in which risks he’s willing to take
  • Nazaré, the biggest wave in the world… what’s it like getting trapped under it?
  • What scares him?
  • How close has he been to dying?
  • If people could live live like him.. what would be the takeaway?
  • It all comes down to…
  • His meditation practice
  • How often does he find himself in “the zone”?
  • His definition of mastery


Listen via: Apple Podcasts | Android | SpotifyStitcher | Pocket Casts |  RSS




“I think if you’re a good person and you have good intentions, yin and yang, give and you get. Especially if you’re not expecting anything in return and you’re just being selfless, and honest, and loving, and kind, luck will come your way.”

“I believe in the power of attraction and energy, and scientific fact. Everything is connected and we’re all part of one energy.”

“Everything is possible. It doesn’t matter where you come from or how you started out. At one point, I was eating out of trash cans. Don’t let your past define you, that’s history. Plan for the future, but it doesn’t exist either. You’ve got to live now.”

“Parents, social media, and TV, they mold us really well. A lot of us don’t even know what our real passion is anymore. Sometimes you’ve got to go back to when you were three to find what you love doing more than anything.”

“Figure out how to serve humanity in one way or another through your passion, and then write the map and focus. Be very careful what you write because it will come true.”

“I didn’t write my first goal until I was 30. It’s never too early. Most kids out there, you guys can start now. It’s also never too late. Never give up on your passion.”

“I definitely wear my heart on my sleeves. The head gets in the way. If your head and your heart are fighting, it’s really chaos. If you’re following your heart, everything else is perfect.”

“My greatest quality is I’m always willing to work on being a better person.”


Related Episodes:

  • Finding Mastery 210: Mark Mathews, Big Wave Surfer, on the Relationship Between Fear and Motivation
  • Finding Mastery 141: Michael Murphy, Co-Founder of the Esalen Institute, on Personal Growth, Consciousness, and Spirtuality
  • Finding Mastery 100: Tom Carroll, Big Wave Surfer, on Being a Maverick


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Big Wave Pioneer |

Garrett ‘GMAC’ McNamara is an American professional big wave surfer and extreme waterman known for breaking the world record for largest wave ever surfed at Nazaré, Portugal, surviving a monstrous wave at Jaws, and riding tsunami from calving glaciers in Alaska.