Multimedia, Storytelling — March 7, 2013 at 1:38 am

Riding the Digital Storytelling Wave


Extreme surfer Garrett McNamara is a digital storyteller. He may not know it, but he is telling us a compelling story.

McNamara surfed a 90-foot wave in living, thrilling color off the coast of Portugal. The video has almost 3 million views on YouTube and the entire feat is being broadcast on Showtime tonight.

Watch the video and you will see the wide view is quite breathtaking. And if that isn’t exciting enough, a miniature camera offers an up-close view of McNamara nearly being smothered by a wall of water. McNamara is trying to break a world record. But you immediately ask yourself is this man crazy?

Garrett McNamara Photo courtesy of Huffington Post
Garrett McNamara
Photo courtesy of Huffington Post

Some multimedia stories are so compelling the video tells the entire story. We don’t need words. We just focus our eyes and watch the action.

Of course, McNamara had some help. In one of the videos you will see a jet ski boat towing McNamara out to the wave. An incredible ride followed. What was it like?

Just imagine surfing the side of a 10-story building – an intense, downward vertical ride. McNamara described it like snowboarding a giant mountain. There is one problem with that description, however. Mountains don’t move as you ski down them. (Unless, of course, you are skiing a avalanche. I don’t recommend it.)

So just how much force was behind that wave? Well, scientists study these kinds of things. One gallon of water weighs 7 pounds. Then there is the issue of the force driving all that water. A waves power depends on its height, width and speed. The size of the wave McNamara surfed is actually in dispute – given that he is going for a world record. But is safe to say that hundreds of tons of force were behind the wall of water. Had McNamara miscalculated, he might not be alive.

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