The 100 foot Cannon

One of the things I like the most about my job is having the chance to meet some amazing people.

From football players to musicians to race car drivers, from artists to top chefs to amazing watchmakers. Some are low profile and some are public figures.

Last Monday I had the opportunity of meeting someone very special. ‪Someone that prefers to do things, rather than talking about them.‬

‪And what Garrett McNamara loves to do… is this…‬

‪I remember it clearly. A few years back I was watching something on the news about a surfer that fell in love with Portugal and in particular with a small village called Nazaré.‬

‪That surfer was Garrett McNamara.‬
‪Despite being a ‬layman about surf I admire the sport very much so the name McNamara was not totally unfamiliar.

‪According to Garrett McNamara, Nazaré has some pretty good waves and one, in particular, caught his attention. It is called the Canhão (Cannon)‬.

All of the sudden Portugal was focused on Nazaré and on this… down to earth, great guy, loved by everybody, that traveled all the way from the other side of the globe to find a special wave on a little fishermen village… in my country.

How cool is that?

In January 2013, McNamara broke the world record by surfing a 100-foot wave in Nazaré. The Cannon of all Cannons! Portugal fell in love with Garrett. Not just the fishermen of Nazaré or the kids who absolutely go crazy about him, but the whole country!

From that day on, people travel from everywhere in Portugal just to watch him surf at Nazaré.
If the word gets out that Garrett is in Nazaré, the whole hill facing the beach, near Nazaré’s lighthouse, gets crowded before sunrise.

And do you know why it gets crowded?
It gets crowded because, apart from his talent for surfing big waves, Garrett always stops for a picture, he always stops for a handshake, for a smile, for a group photo surrounded by kids. He is always available to people. I’m not just talking about surf lovers but families, kids, parents, grand parents…

He doesn’t talk much, clearly he prefers to be in the water rather than being on the news, but I’m sure that if you go to Nazaré and you run into him he will stop and greet you.

From the few hours I had the chance of talking to Garrett McNamara I can state that I feel proud that he calls Portugal home.

There’s just something… good that emanates from him and we, as a country and as individuals, need that. We need to embrace and to be openhearted to those who bring something positive and motivational into our lives. It goes beyond surfing, it’s about life itself and the way we live it.

Garrett McNamara has become a symbol of something positive and the admiration of the Portuguese people for him is absolutely unanimous. He brings people together for all the best reasons.

Hat’s off to you sir!

Holga 120 CFN

Kodak TriX 400
Kodak TMax Dev.
6 min.

Garrett McNamara 02

Garrett McNamara 03

Garrett McNamara 09

Garrett McNamara 11


Garrett McNamara 06

Garrett McNamara 12

  1. Great pics. Love the low-fi feel about them.

    Also McNamara seems like a great guy.

    Cool article.

    • Obrigado Rui 🙂

      It wouldn’t be fair not to mention my inspiration for taking the Holga.

      Massi Pugliese’s Banzai Beach series.

      Banzai beach

      And this one by David Burnett

      • The David Burnett one is just awesome. Thanks for the links.

        Have to get into Medium Format myself 🙂

      • Tive a oportunidade de lhe fazer uma entrevista via email. Foi um homem que viu nascer a “prioridade à abertura”, viu nascer o AF, etc… etc… no entanto, vai fotografar a Casa Branca e vai de Holga ou vai fotografar os Jogos Olímpicos e leva uma grande formato 🙂

  2. Son of Sharecroppers said:

    Great photos, great story. My son–who has a bachelor’s in photography–visited recently and showed me a bunch of photos that he had taken with a Holga (one, coincidentally, that I gave him!). I was impressed by the look. These are also superb. Thanks!

    • Thank YOU for such kind words.
      Let me share with you I just got another Holga. 🙂
      It has a specific look and in some situations it can deliver great results. I must take it more seriously.

    • Thank you.
      Inspiring people inspire me which I share with you all in bad English. 🙂

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