Stab Magazine | Who's the Mac?
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Who’s the Mac?

Words by Jed Smith  It’s dinner time at the McNamara household, when Makai is handed the phone. Earlier that day the 20 year old North Shore native shocked the surfing world with a balls out display of bravado. Some are calling his perfect ten in the semi-final of the Volcom Pipe Pro one of the […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Words by Jed Smith 

It’s dinner time at the McNamara household, when Makai is handed the phone. Earlier that day the 20 year old North Shore native shocked the surfing world with a balls out display of bravado. Some are calling his perfect ten in the semi-final of the Volcom Pipe Pro one of the greatest waves ridden in a Pipe event. It also helped him to a remarkable come from behind win despite being down an interference call to Dusty Payne. Tomorrow is a new day, however, and it’s back to work for Makai. He will be manning his shaved ice truck parked out the front of his father, and Pipe legend, Liam Mcnamara’s North Shore Surf Shop.

Stab: The 10, tell me every stinking detail about that wave?
Makai: Well, basically I got the interference and I was just tripping out the whole time. Thinking I wasn’t gonna make it after that. I had a feeling that a good wave was gonna come to me and I saw that wave coming. I also saw Jamie paddling for it really hard. I thought, if he’s paddling for it it must be a bomb. Finally I put my balls to the wall and just went. It worked out for me, I got a ten. It was definitely the best wave of my life.

The drop was fucking death, man. (Laughs) Looking at the wave I knew it’d be a big perfect one or a big crazy clamper. I was really psyched and had my head down paddling into it. I had to paddle out to it because I was too far in. I whipped it right in the perfect spot and it let let me in perfectly. My board held in perfect, a four-fin 6’10. Right after the bottom turn I knew I was gonna make it then right at the end I almost got clamped out. It was the best feeling.

What was going on behind the scenes today? I dunno, it was just a crazy day. Everyone was so into watching it and everyone knew it was a special day. The last two days have been just perfect at Pipe. Everyone was giving me positive vibes and telling me I can do it all day.

How were the competitors dealing with the conditions? It was pretty funny because you can really see the people who want it and don’t. And I’m the first to say I never really wanted it and I had a lot of opportunities where I didn’t go on waves that I should have. Today I knew I had to fucking do it. All day I was just squeaking by. You could definitely tell a lot of people were really scared and almost shouldn’t have been in the event. They should give those spots to the locals because they’ll go hard.

Describe a day like that at Pipe for us. It’s funny ’cause whenever you watch if for a while you can never really tell how big it is or how much water is moving. It’s a different world, so raw and powerful. You see all these waves from the beach, they look so easy then you go out there and don’t even look at them or go for them. It’s definitely the scariest, shortest, gnarliest wave there is, especially on a day like that. If there was no contest there would’ve been so many people going hard and getting ten point rides all day. You see in the contest a lot of waves going unridden. If  people were freesurfing they would have been sending it all day.

And the interference? For some reason Tom Whitaker went on the right before and I thought Dusty was looking at the right, I didn’t see him looking left. I was tripping, just in my zone. I ended up going right when I dropped in I was in the barrel yelling at myself basically. I paddled out and basically gave up. I let a bunch of little waves go by and I knew I got the interference but they didn’t make the call for the next ten minutes. After that I knew I needed to get one big wave. I had a feeling one would come to me, so I waited with priority until it came.

And the final. You started with one of the worst beatings we’ve seen in a long time. Yeah, I got the 8.6 and wanted another quick wave. Bruce had priority, I had second priority. I saw Bruce and this gnarly double up slab A-frame come in. I saw Bruce paddling and I thought he was going right in the beginning and then he was straight looking at the left, didn’t even look right. Out of trying not to be a pussy I gave it a go and ended up being way too late and jumped over. I was lucky that I made it right back up and the ski got to me. The one right before the end of the final, that one got me worse I think. It pounded me harder and I took more waves on the head.

Mac wipeout

Can only get better from here.

How’d you pick yourself up? Fuck, when I paddled out I was so tired. Once it started I was back on my game and wanted to win it. I paddled deeper like my dad taught me to do. A lot of guys don’t sit deep enough out there. I don’t even wanna say that because a lot of guys might start sitting deeper… You can definitely get a lot more barrelled on a lot of the waves you see out there… I forgot the question.

What will today do your for your confidence? It hasn’t really sank in yet. It definitely makes me feel like a better Pipe surfer I guess. A lot of younger up and coming kids really want it and there’s a lot of local kids charging, like the kid Eala Stewart in my heat. I’m just lucky I got the waves today and everything went my way – except for the end of the final (laughs). It will do a lot my confidence. In years to come, I will try and win one.

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