Mavericks is A place that was once surrounded with myth and speculation just off the foggy coast of small town half moon bay breaks a wave bigger than five-story buildings. A break that would forever change the history of both the california coastline and surf history forever. The ocean covers more than 70% of our earth & nearly 95% of it remains undiscovered. Mavericks used to be within the 95% of the unexplored until 1967. Although I have never surfed this break, my fascination with this wave came at ten years old when my dad showed me a picture on the front page of a magazine featuring a guy riding a mountain of a wave. The fact that this wave was 30 min. from my house only added to my juvenile stoke. In the following segment, I will detail the history of Mavericks, explain how this particular wave is generated, and how surfers survive this wave.
Currently the wave Mavericks breaks about half a mile off the coast of Pillar Point harbor in half-moon bay California, just 30 min. from the San Francisco bay area. But the story of Mavericks begins 49 years earlier when three local surfers paddled out and watched the massive waves from afar when Alex Matienzo’s pet german Shepard named Maverick swam out to the lineup, this prompted them to name the wave after him. Mavericks was once one of the best kept secrets on earth, and the pioneer who first rode it Jeff Clark, is responsible for keeping this notorious wave a secret for some 25 years. Although Jeff was 17 years old when he first tamed this 40 ft beast, a 16 year old santa Cruz kid named Jay Moriarty was featured dropping in on a 45 ft. wave on the cover of surfer magazine in 1994.
What causes such colossal waves here is due to a few factors. One being it’s geopgraphic location. Deep water storms from Japan or Alaska generate powerful swells. Once they reach the Californian coast the surge of water funnels through an underwater canyon caused by a fault, the water is then kicked up off a 20 ft. reef causing a perfect double up (Two separate waves merge to one), generating waves bigger than 60 ft. when it’s firing.This environmental phenomenon is only possible during october through early spring, although it’s said to be the biggest during december and january.Finally, how to survive this wave. There are quite a few cringe worthy factors that make Mavericks so unique.The obvious fear factor, the fact that it’s in the red triangle (shark conservation sanctuary), the water temperature and the deep reef. “If you want the ultimate ride, you have to be willing to pay the ultimate price.”-mark Foo (1994). One cannot simply surf this wave without training. Jay Moriarty trained for four years previous to surfing it, and others train their whole lives for a wave the size of that. Surfers stay safe by firstly knowing where to paddle out, triangulating rocks and stationary objects to keep position. In conclusion, Mavericks is the only known big wave surf spot on the CA coast, with most of the Northern CA coastline still unexplored the next Mavericks could be just an adventure away.