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Garrett McNamara Withdraws From Billabong XXL

March 21st, 2013
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After riding one of the most publicized waves of the year in Nazaré, Portugal, Garrett McNamara acquired international fame as news of his epic wave swept across the global media. As claims that McNamara had surfed the first 100ft wave extended, surfers debated the merit of the wave. But in an unexpected turn, Garrett McNamara recently announced that he’s decided to pull his ride from the XXL Awards.

While the precise size of the ride is still under public debate, it was largely accepted that the ride would win in one of this year’s Billabong XXL Awards. In an interview with SURFER, Garrett McNamara cited his opposition to the event’s alcohol sponsor, Pacifico Beer, as his main motive for withdrawing his ride.

“I decided to pull my ride from the event because I’m opposed to the event having an alcohol sponsor. I’ve been thinking a lot about what we really contribute to this world, and at the end of the day you’ve got to make choices,” said McNamara. “I don’t want kids to think that they’re going to be able to accomplish their goals in life by drinking alcohol. That’s only gonna make your goals harder to accomplish and I didn’t want to be associated with that.”

Garrett went on to explain that he never personally entered his wave into the competition.

“The way it works is that the photographers actually send in their photos to the awards, not the surfer. I never actually submitted my wave. So when Bill Sharp [Director of the XXL Awards] called me the other day, I told him that I wanted to pull my wave.”

Sharp confirmed that Garrett had indeed withdrawn his ride from the event and all subsequent photographs of the wave have been removed from the site. Had the wave been up for an award, it would have been analyzed and given an approximate height value by the Billabong XXL panelists.

“Garrett, through his wife Nicole, confirmed to me yesterday that he preferred to not participate in the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards this year and I understand and respect his decision,” said Sharp. “As a result, all photos depicting him were removed from the website.”

As well as the short interview McNamara gave, he also brought out a statement explaining why he chose to withdraw his wave from the event. In spite of his aforementioned opposition to the XXL’s alcohol sponsor, McNamara said that

“…We also decided to pull my waves from Nazare out of the Billabong XXL because I do not ride for Billabong and I did not go out that day and surf for a world record or to win any XXL prize money. I was out there because I live for big waves, it’s what I love to do! It is not necessary to have a Billabong panel measure it. There have already been quite a few educated professionals who have measured it anywhere between 60-110 feet!”

Garrett McNamara has been a consistent standout at the XXL Awards, having won or been nominated in every category at the event in the past decade.

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