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Ride the BIG One!
March 2, 2005 9:53 AM   Subscribe

Mavericks: The Wave Beyond
The conditions were right and, about 30 hours ago, they announced this year's Mavericks Surf Contest was ON, the waves get as big as 50 feet and are considered "one of the most challenging waves in the world"! This isn't Hawaii, this is just off the coast of Half Moon Bay, California!
posted by fenriq (37 comments total)

 
Bummer they want $5 to watch it, I wish it was free. Seems like it could be really boring to watch live.

I'll pony up the dough and report back later.
posted by mathowie at 10:05 AM on March 2, 2005


boring? check out Riding Giants for a taste of large-waves and the crazies who ride them.
posted by killy willy at 10:19 AM on March 2, 2005


NBC will be broadcasting highlights from this year's Mavericks Big Wave Competition on April 24th. And I highly second the recommendation for Riding Giants. I love regular surf videos and movies, but big wave surfing seems totally insane.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 10:27 AM on March 2, 2005


Dang, I didn't know they were charging for the feed, that's incredibly lame. Especially since they interviewed the show organizer this morning on KNBR and he never mentioned a word about a fee to watch it.

Sorry about that.

Live from the beach would be terrible since the waves are a half mile out. But Verizon has a tent set up with two 42 inch plasma screens to watch the action.

The cool thing during the interview? You could hear the reporters cheering and going "Whoa!" and then you could hear one of them get seasick! Classic radio moment!

killy willy, Riding Giants is AWESOME! Any wave you need to be pulled into to catch is insane! Oh wait, maybe I'm thinking of Step Into Liquid?
posted by fenriq at 10:28 AM on March 2, 2005


It's about 10 min. from my house - maybe I should amble over there today - although the news said they were expecting 15,000 fans. Our roads can't handle the daily traffic we get here on the coast; not sure I can deal with 15,000 surfer dudes and dudettes.

Riding Giants was great, but it didn't have the emotional punch (for me) of Peralta's earlier film Dogtown and Z-Boys. Highly recommended.
posted by stevil at 10:35 AM on March 2, 2005



Another must-see is Mavericks, filmed about and during El Nino. I tell you, surfin's mighty wild--it's gettin' bigger every day, from Hawaii to the shores of Peru!
posted by fandango_matt at 10:37 AM on March 2, 2005


The webcast isn't worth it. The camerawork sucks and the feed keeps dropping off.

No 50-footers today, fenriq. 10-15 feet - 2-3 times overhead with occasional 18s. Sets were inconsistent this morning but it are filling in more as the swell builds and the tide drops a little more. Waves are a little sectiony and crossed up thanks to the mix of swells but some of the bigger sets seem to peak up a bit better. The swell will peak later today and bring in bigger ones.
posted by breezeway at 10:38 AM on March 2, 2005


To second stevil, Dogtown and Z-Boys is a great flick.
posted by fandango_matt at 10:41 AM on March 2, 2005


Yeah, the 50 footers are not super rare but it was unlikely they'd get them for a competition. I did hear they hit some 35 footers this morning, maybe that was a little marketing spin by the promoter though!

By the way, no surfing thread can be even considered close to complete without the obligatory mention of Endless Summer and Endless Summer II, classic movies, not big wave action movies but a really great introduction to surfing.
posted by fenriq at 10:46 AM on March 2, 2005


For those around the Bay Area, I recommend taking a trip on the "Queen of Hearts" sportfishing vessel for a close up view of the Mavericks action.... bring some dramamine though... it can get a bit rough out there. Monster Mavericks is another great surf movie that profiles Mavericks for those interested. Can't wait to see local Santa Cruz charger Flea take off on some of those beasts!
posted by rodo at 10:46 AM on March 2, 2005


I didn't expect to find this: Answers to all your big wave questions.
posted by breezeway at 10:50 AM on March 2, 2005


Here's an actual working link to Mavericks, A Documentary Film.

Thanks for the link to Step Into Liquid--that footage from Cortez is insane!
posted by fandango_matt at 10:53 AM on March 2, 2005


Whoa, awesome links.

After a friend of mine and I saw Riding Giants, we becamse fascinated with the idea of a big wave surf spot 40 minutes from San Francisco. The next weekend we were trying to figure out where to go for a nice day trip outside of the city and decided we were going to drive down Highway 1 and find Mavericks. We knew the waves weren't very big at the time, we just wanted to *see* it for what it was. It is pretty impressive, and so were the sea lions who greeted us from the water as we walked along the beach.

I can't surf (I can't even swim, really), but I'm so fascinated by big wave surfing it's ridiculous.

I'm honestly considering calling up my friend and convincing to cut out of work so we can drive down to Half Moon Bay right now....

rodo, I'm definitely going to check that stuff out.
posted by aGreatNotion at 10:56 AM on March 2, 2005


Just for the hell of it here's the wave forecasts from the NWS for San Mateo County. In a nutshell, breakers on the order of 18 to 22 ft are likely to continue along portions of the coast until midday Wednesday, then slowly subside during the afternoon and evening hours.
posted by rolypolyman at 11:25 AM on March 2, 2005


Right on ... I lived on the North Shore of Oahu for 3 years before moving to SF, and I had neighbors who were in the water every day, that they consider Half Moon Bay beyond crazy.

Men who ride mountains indeed ...
posted by Relay at 11:39 AM on March 2, 2005


For more surfing related goodness, check out the work of Alan Weisbecker. He wrote the book that inspired my handle, "Cosmic Banditos", and also wrote "In search of Captain Zero", a memoir about searching for his lost surf buddy. Good writing from a man with an interesting past and a beautiful house in Costa Rica.
posted by cosmicbandito at 11:53 AM on March 2, 2005


Jon Krakauer: Mark Foo's Last Ride (1995 Outside magazine article)
posted by lazymonster at 12:01 PM on March 2, 2005


Crap. I live in Half Moon Bay. Traffic is going to be an utter bitch when I go home from work. I'm even more irritated I didn't know of it till I got to work, I would have called in sick and watched the waves otherwise.
posted by Vaska at 12:19 PM on March 2, 2005


Mavericks is one of the more deadly waves out there. I was out at Half Moon Bay in the off season, so missed seeing the real power live.

I love watching it, but I personally stick to some nice head-high/overhead surf. And don't knock the fun factor of good 3-4 foot surf.

Mathowie - as for watching surfing live or recaps of contest on tv.. it's always fun, never boring. Live is the best, though, especially after just finishing a sesh and sitting on the beach watching the guys still in the water ripping it.
posted by rich at 12:24 PM on March 2, 2005


Some great big wave links and a discussion of wave heights in this old thread.

These pictures were from this past winter on Maui at Jaws, about 10 minutes from my house:

Gallery 1
Gallery 2

And yes, watching surfing live is the way to go if you really appreciate it. Professional grade film (Riding Giants, Step Into Liquid, In God's Hands, etc.) can be funt o watch too, but nothing beats sitting on the beach after a good session and watching guys ride waves you would never dream of catching.
posted by rooftop secrets at 12:55 PM on March 2, 2005


No 50-footers today, fenriq. 10-15 feet - 2-3 times overhead with occasional 18s. Sets were inconsistent this morning but it are filling in more as the swell builds and the tide drops a little more. Waves are a little sectiony and crossed up thanks to the mix of swells but some of the bigger sets seem to peak up a bit better. The swell will peak later today and bring in bigger ones.

Reading this gave me shivers and tingles. Yeah, like I was reading porn. Hooboy.

watching guys ride waves you would never dream of catching.

I dare to dream, but I grew up in the Pacific. My swimming lessons pretty much amounted to being thrown in the live, churning ocean from a jetty at about age 3 or 4. I'd probably want to train a bit before actually being towed in on a 50 footer, though. I've already done 20+ at The Wedge, which is just brutal. That break has a lip like frickin' Half Dome, and feels about as soft when it beans you in the head. (Yeah, body surfing or bodyboarding, not stand-up board surfing. I don't think I'd stand-up surf the wedge on a glass board. That would be a very short and painful ride.)
posted by loquacious at 1:52 PM on March 2, 2005



posted by breezeway at 1:59 PM on March 2, 2005


*UNF* Yeah, like that. Yeah.
posted by loquacious at 2:01 PM on March 2, 2005


loquacious ,
Like this :-)
Although the last picture onpage 4 of that section shows the appeal of these waves.
posted by stuartmm at 2:10 PM on March 2, 2005


Woah, Ron Romanosky has a photo gallery? If that's the same guy, my dad used to kneeboard and bodysurf with him from the SA river jetty through Blackies and 15th Street Point on down to the Wedge. If that's the same guy I remember seeing him around when I was but a wee little grommet and thinking that he was really nice but rather crazy. But then, I remember thinking most of my dad's friends were crazy. You'd never know when one of them would pick you up and throw you in the ocean or bay, or in a nearby pool or at a trampoline. That, and they always had beers in their hands and were always smoking funny looking cigarettes.

BTW, that link doesn't seem to work, but I tried www.wedge.org and got romanoskyphoto.com
posted by loquacious at 2:31 PM on March 2, 2005


I've already done 20+ at The Wedge, which is just brutal.

Wedge is one thing, Mavs/Jaws/Costa Mesa are entirely different beast. I've ridden waves comparable to a big day at the Wedge in Hawaiian shorebreak and survived, but there are only an elite few that can really ride the true big beasts without a significant chance of death. A friend of mine from highschool was a national champion contest surfer, but left contest surfing to train all year with Laird and Co. for when Jaws breaks those precious few times a year. It's nearly a different sport, and many people are not able to do it even with proper training.
posted by rooftop secrets at 2:40 PM on March 2, 2005




I mean, c'mon.
posted by rooftop secrets at 2:44 PM on March 2, 2005


rooftop secrets, oh come on now, that's just a fifty foot wall of water. What's the big deal?

Just kidding. The surfer looks very, very small on that huge wave.
posted by fenriq at 2:49 PM on March 2, 2005


Caught Inside, by Daniel Duane, is a wonderful read about a year spent in pursuit of the surfing life, with wonderful accounts of early Californian life interspersed. A bit more ponderous/meditative, but quite nice overall.

Second the Weisbecker read, i.e. Captain Zero.
posted by docpops at 2:57 PM on March 2, 2005


Watching that Step Into Liquid trailer and the photo above are sending chills down my spine. I might be forced to duck out of work early to check out Mavericks.
posted by fandango_matt at 3:00 PM on March 2, 2005


anybody in HMB headed home yet? what's the traffic like? i'm wondering if i should even bother trying to drive home yet, or if i should just head to the city for a while.
posted by dj_fraudulent at 5:49 PM on March 2, 2005


That pic of the late Jay Mariarty (who died, I believe, while freediving) that breezeway posted above reminded me that Moriarty took probably the most spectacular filmed wipeout in surf history, there at Mavericks. Late on takeoff, he fell straight down a monster into the beaten zone. He swam away unhurt. I think he may have only been 16 at the time.

I second the recommendation for Duane's "Caught Inside". The book has another take on Mark Foo's death at Mavericks. Foo heard the surf was building there, flew into San Francisco on the red-eye from Oahu, and was dead before noon.

But what a way to go, eh? No hiss of oxygen, morphine-fuckin'-drip, and a tube in every orifice. The boom of that final wave, concussive...turning, rolling, held and held and held in deep greens, silence, an unreachable crystal sky above, a fight and an understanding and acceptance, all in one. Mother, mother ocean.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 8:36 PM on March 2, 2005


The boom of that final wave, concussive...turning, rolling, held and held and held in deep greens, silence, an unreachable crystal sky above, a fight and an understanding and acceptance, all in one. Mother, mother ocean.

Foldy, as somebody who's nearly drown twice (once at Waimea, once at Exterminator on the Penobscot) I found your words to be strangely beautiful, familiar, and compelling.
posted by damn yankee at 10:12 PM on March 2, 2005


Hmm, the fight bit sucks though. Talking of scary wipeouts, the wildest thing about the whole Mav's story IMO, is that Jeff Clark surfed there alone for fifteen years, some of those as a teenager, unable to convince anyone to join him out there!
posted by Onanist at 12:28 AM on March 3, 2005


Hmm, the fight bit sucks though

Yeah, that's the part that made me say, "Ok, not going back in the water for a while now..."
posted by damn yankee at 12:59 AM on March 3, 2005


Onanist, that part blows my mind as well. Fifteen years all to himself, unable to convince anyone to go out and just look at it with him. Crazy!

And, a local guy won! Anthony Tashnick pulled it out and walked away with the $25K! Nice action!
posted by fenriq at 8:06 AM on March 3, 2005


For anyone still chewing on this post (like I am), here's the 20/20.
posted by breezeway at 11:19 AM on March 3, 2005


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