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'60 Minutes Sports' goes to extremes: experience what it's like to ride giant, deadly waves

by jmaloni

Press release

Tue, Feb 26th 2013 04:50 pm

Discover the punishing new sport of obstacle racing on the next episode of "60 Minutes Sports," premiering Wednesday, March 6, on SHOWTIME

Anderson Cooper profiles world-record-holding big wave surfer Garrett McNamara and Byron Pitts goes all out in a race designed to inflict pain on its participants

There are several ways to die when you are riding a wave the size of a small office building. Garrett McNamara is familiar with them all, and he's managed to not only stay alive riding hundreds of huge waves, but also holds the big-wave world record at 78 feet. The idea of an obstacle race isn't winning or losing, it's enduring as much pain and discomfort as the masochistic operators of the events can dish out, earning racers the right to brag of the ordeal on social media.

The next edition of "60 Minutes Sports," premiering Wednesday, March 6, at 9 p.m. on SHOWTIME, captures the excitement, fear, pain and triumph as both of these extreme sports become more popular.

Anderson Cooper interviews McNamara at his home on the famous north shore of Oahu in Hawaii and then ventures nearly 8,000 miles away to the ancient fishing village of Nazare, Portugal, to meet McNamara in the Atlantic waters where he broke the world record in 2011 - and may have bested that 78-foot wave just a few weeks ago. It's two awesome, unprecedented rides viewers will see up-close as they've never been seen before anywhere else. In those same waters, McNamara takes cooper out on a jet-ski to experience the huge swells caused by a massive underwater canyon that many believe to be the biggest waves on Earth.

As Byron Pitts finds out, if the mud, fire and the electric wires don't faze you, the ice water you have to swim though will - just temporarily - as you slog through an obstacle course that even the meanest Marine Corps drill instructor would blanch at. So why did 1.5 million people pay up to $200 last year to go through such an ordeal? Pitts talks to people who did and will again, many of them driven by the urge to "humble-brag" by posting race pictures of themselves on social media.

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