It’s not easy to juxtapose political and extreme surfing lingo, but, as of tomorrow, the conditions are ripe.
Whether, or not, you have ever attempted to crawl on top of a gyrating plank of fiberglass as it careens across the waves, you have to be impressed with the extreme surfers who travel the planet looking for killer waves.
So, if you happen to be in the neighborhood of the sleepy California town of Half Moon Bay, know this:
Tomorrow, it’s on at Mavericks.
What Mavericks is, is surfing on steroids. Mavericks is madness incarnate; mayhem in an aquatic setting.
Their website gives the history of Mavericks, but the short of it is, three guys looked at the massive waves around 1961 and may have said something like, “No effing way am I getting into that!” and promptly paddled home.
That was followed by a local to Pillar Point by the name of Jeff Clark who did get into it in 1975, and pretty much had the place to himself for 15 years, as no one would believe that the central California coast had Hawaii-sized waves.
In 1990 Surfer Magazine let the cat out of the bag, and then, in 1999 Quicksilver sponsored the first Mavericks Surf Contest.
“Mavericks has become an epicenter of modern big-wave surfing, attracting elite riders to test its limits (and theirs) each time it rears its awe-inspiring head. With waves cresting as high as 50 feet, ridiculously strong currents, dangerous rocks, perilously shallow reefs, and bone-chilling water temperatures, Mavericks is like no other place on Earth.”
The website provides a real-time webcam to watch these
batshit crazy, insane, deranged lunatics heroic, fearless champions of surfing.
These guys wait and wait for the call that Mavericks is up. I have sailed by Pillar Point and into the charming harbor at Half Moon Bay many a time with ocean swells less than I stir up in the bathtub when I play with my rubber ducky.
If you want a glimpse of where surfing came from, including a pictorial history of Mavericks, find a copy of the movie, Riding Giants. It is a compelling, semi-documentary about the history of riding the big waves, and shows how a little-known wave spot evolved into one of the premiere big wave competition hotspots in the world.
I marvel at how surf legends, like Laird Hamilton, survive these adrenalin-charged lives, and the challenges he must have to deal with every day. (Do you have any idea how difficult it must be to be married to a super model and keep her happy on a daily basis?)
I have never so much as even tried the sport. Someday, I hope to find some wimpy waves and a long-floaty board to humiliate myself on; maybe on a mellow day outside Todo Santos, Baja.
The closest thing I have tried is my foray into windsurfing, which nowadays I only do it on flat-water lakes where I can actually see the opposite shore (yes, there is another story there).
Windsurfing is somewhat related to surfing, except in addition to contending with both the board and the water surface moving—often in different directions—on a windsurfer you get to dodge the mast as it swings wildly in the wind and, hopefully, avoid getting bonked on the noggin. I have spent many an hour crawling back onto the windsurf board with bruised and bloody knees only to have to walk along the shallow shore upwind where I started, which we affectionately used to call The Walk of Shame.
But, what these guys do at Mavericks is an almost super-human accomplishment.
Remember, if you go out there and die trying tomorrow, that, in no way, gets you off the hook if you have forgotten to get your sweetie flowers and candy for Valentine’s Day on Sunday. (Nice try, though.)