Where: 0.8miles off the coast of Half Moon Bay, California, USA (just south of San Francisco)
Why: Up to 50ft of cold water wave breaking over a jagged shallow rock break
When: First discovered by Alex Matienzo, Jim Thompson, Dick Knottmeyer and the German Shepherd dog called Maverick in March 1961
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In the world of big wave riding there are few waves that truly challenge the very best surfers, but Mavericks is one of those waves. Off the Californian coast of Half Moon Bay, there waits the monster wave that raises its heavy head during the winter months. Mavericks invites only the adrenaline fueled giant wave riders to tempt their fate in its eerie waters.
Back in 1961 a group of 3 surfers and their dog paddled out to investigate the breaking waves of Pillar Point at Half Moon Bay. Matienzo, Thompson and Knottmeyer decided that the spot was too dangerous to surf, as the large waves crashed onto extremely shallow rocks. However despite their lack of success in riding the wave, the three surfers named the spot after the dog Maverick.
More than 14 years would pass before Mavericks would finally be ridden. A teenage Jeff Clark decided to venture out into the cold waters and take on the highly dangerous wave. For an incredible 15 years Clark rode Mavericks almost entirely alone. It wasn't until 1990 that Mavericks finally received due recognition as one of the best and largest waves in North America, a wave that could rival the enormous waves of Hawaii. It was Steve Tadin's photo in Surfer magazine that brought Mavericks to the world.
Mavericks has been viewed with awe, terror and respect. Only the most intrepid surfers brave the spine-chilling waters and the thick winter wetsuits, followed by the 45mins paddle, 8ft to 50ft wave faces and multiple wave hold downs. The wave itself is capable of gigantic sizes, yet requires very specific winter conditions to work properly.
The wave has become part of big wave competitions since 1999. This year the Mavericks Surf Contest has a waiting period that runs from 1st Nov 09' through to 31st March 2010, giving every chance that should the conditions form, then the 24 invitees can gather at 24 hours notice to compete. Previous winners include Darryl “Flea” Virostko, Anthony Tasknick, Grant Baker, and Greg Long, who this month won The Eddie at Waimea Bay.
As things stand, the event is on hold until the swell hits- but when Mavericks lights up, nature takes control and only the brave/crazy challenge its waters.
Watch from 30secs to get the scope and power of the immense wave.