With the first storms of the winter building energy and getting ready to unleash its fury on Mavericks, local residents have gathered financial and community support for a “virtual” contest that recognizes exceptional performance throughout the entire big wave … This was the year Duke Kahanamoku chose Isabel Letham, the first person to surf Australian waters, to surf tandem with him in 1914 at Freshwater Beach. This site uses cookies to ensure that you receive the best experience on our website. The wave still happened and I got to experience it. Half Moon Bay High School student Luca Padua just found out he’s competing on California’s biggest wave. He was with Walt Von Hoffe, his little league sponsor, and friends. “One day a guy told me, ‘This is a man’s playground. When you see someone take the worst wipeout of their life, it doesn’t look real. For nearly 24 years, Mavericks Half Moon Bay CA has been a world famous surfing destination and attracts thousands of spectators and some of the best surfers from around the world to face the massive waves of the Mavericks Surf. Jeff grew up watching the massive waves break from Half Moon Bay High School and Pillar Point. It’s all about having fun. “Surfing is 20 years behind other sports,” Valenti says on a drive home from surfing Mavericks. We can’t all go out to Mavericks, can you bring it to us? (Photo by Dominic Padua) The Mavericks surf break, just north of Half Moon Bay, is a world famous big wave that has been ridden by some of the greatest surfers. It’s crazy. The wave on the left moves way faster and there is way less time for you to paddle in, stand up and ride the wave successfully. There is the side of having video where I can change my surfing. Surfing Mavericks is the scariest thing I have ever done and it’s also the most fun thing I have every done in my life. Jeff grew up watching the massive waves break from Half Moon Bay High School and Pillar Point. Is it intimidating laying on your stomach starting up a mountain of water? Described by many as the heaviest wave in the world, Teahupo’o is a huge wave that breaks onto shallow water and sharp reef. I always tell people you can see video and pictures, you can hear stories, but no matter what you hear or see you would never understand. For Padua, Mavericks is more than a contest, it is a yearning to be with the wave as much as possible. You have to sit in a different spot, which could be a bad spot if a big cleanup set comes in. That’s what is more of a challenge. He has been surfing Mavericks every year for the past 40 years. Jeff Clark, a surfer that grew up in Half Moon Bay, was the first documented person to have surfed Mavericks, in 1975 at age 17. “We know in big-wave surfing, the first person to get to the victim is a surfer,” says Burle, who has attended past BWRAG courses. But first, he has to finish English class. You are not thinking about anything else except exactly what is going on. The daughter of Gulf Coast surf legend Yancy Spencer III, Abigail seemed like a person who could possibly gauge the authenticity of this collision between Hollywood and surf culture. Dropping in you have to be 100% focused and committed, and if 1% of you isn’t, you are not going to make that wave. When I see huge waves I think, it’s on! For me I have it right here in my head. The way the left jacks up off the reef is completely different. I feel once you get in the water it’s almost soothing and calm, even though it’s a crazy fifty-foot wave. It’s like nothing else. Since then, many women have followed in her footsteps, showing the world that women can … Now, it fires me up. Clark may not have been the first person to surf Maverick’s, but overwhelmingly he’s the man who put it on the map. What is it like to make the drop and ride the wave? At that time the location was thought too dangerous to surf. The two first met when Frosty was approached by a young Jay in 1990 as the skinny kid with a sparkle in his eye wanted his help in becoming a better surfer. You are under a microscope it seems, with all your moves documented how do you stay with the experience? When you look back, or look at a video clip, who knows what could have happened. Living less than a mile away in El Granada, Padua has embraced the opportunity of his proximity. Local Half Moon Bay resident, Jeff Clark is the first documented person to ever surf “Mavericks” Half Moon Bay, CA. At first it was definitely intimidating. Yet it is not just the height that is threatening, but the density of the wave. The Mavericks surf break, just north of Half Moon Bay, is a world famous big wave that has been ridden by some of the greatest surfers. People were trying to read so I had to keep it cool. You are so focused on sticking that drop and not falling and once you stick the drop deciding what you are going to do after. Soon she will be part of the first women's heat in a surfing contest there. The news immediately stirred Padua up. Clark ought to know. Once you are out there you can feel the raw power and energy and everything that is going on. There are still days when no one documents. In fact, Mavericks may be one of the unluckiest events in the entire surfing world, with a long tale of things gone wrong. Every year I want to get the biggest wave of my life. For most, the wave is for spectating — via photographs and videos, or simply through binoculars from the nearby Pillar Point cliffs. Who cares about the pictures, who cares about the interview? You could wear those waves on the head. Padua is quick to attest to this. The left is more critical, even the small ones. Up close, the wave is a stunning spectacle. It’s understanding the actual power of the ocean. It takes more commitment to ride. Mavericks pioneer Jeff Clark and entrepreneur Chris Cuvelier announced the launch of the first annual Mavericks Surf Awards. http://www.thebigwaveblog.com/surf-spots/mavericks-northern-california Inn at Mavericks is unique because its the only Ocean front Inn at half Moon Bay, and the closest hotel to Mavericks. Clark, who is credited with being the first person to surf Mavericks decades ago, is the contest's creator. The World Surf League assumed sponsorship and renamed it the Mavericks Challenge in 2018. Can you describe what it is like to be out there? Tell us, what is your relationship with the wave and those who surfed it and those who surf it now? More than just tackling the topic of surfing, Chasing Mavericks set out to capture the story of the late big-wave legend Jay Moriarity. It is Mother Nature unleashing a fierce and potentially deadly giant wall of water. 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