Surfing the Mavericks
With waves cresting as high as 50 feet it is no wonder the mavericks are the ideal destination for big wave surfers. The mavericks surf contest, sometimes known as surfing Mount Everest, takes place sometime between November and March about a half mile off the coast of Half Moon Bay, California. About 20 surfers will get a call about the contest just around 24 hours before the contest begins. The dangerous rocks and shallow reefs along with the ice cold water temperatures, make this surfing contest one of the most physically demanding contest in the world. The surf contest has been going on since 1999. The winner receives $150,000 which is the most of any surf contest. There is also a $10,000 bonus to the surfer who has the best run. The contest has become so dangerous that since 2010 spectators have not been allowed on the beach.
The Mavericks got their name in 1961 when surfer Alex Matienzo and a few others went to surf the waves off Pillar point. Along with them, Alex brought his dog named Maverick. Maverick was used to going out with his owner but on this particular day Alex thought the waves to be too rough for the dog so he tied Maverick up to the car. From that point on it had become known as Maverick's Point and is now simply known as Maverick's. However, these surfers did not attempt to ride the bigger, outside waves because they thought them too dangerous.It was not until 1975 that surfer Jeff Clark, at age 17, a Pillar Point native, rode the bigger waves at Mavericks. He is the first ever documented to ride the waves. Once word got out that these waves were in fact surfable, the photos began to surface in Surfer magazine especially in the early 90's.
While the popularity of the Mavericks gained, so did the dangers. There have been many surfers killed while trying to ride these waves. Most recently Sion Milosky on March 16, 2011.
The Mavericks is the place to go in the U.S for anyone looking to surf big waves. If surfers catch these waves there are many benefits such as the money and the notability. However, as all surfers know, there is great danger in trying to catch great waves.
Posted by Michael Magee at 6:21 PM