January 11, 2008

Mavericks!

No one's ever accused me of being a sports fan, and I haven't surfed since I was a teenager, but something about the Maverick's competition held here really appeals to me. Apart from the surf and the great surfing — 50 foot waves and a break across a bunch of exposed reefs, surfed by two dozen hand-picked best Big Wave surfers in the world — look at the videos from 2006's competition — well, apart from all that, I'm intrigued by the way it's become locally so well-known so quickly, a strong part of local Northern Californian folklore that people think of as being a tradition 'round here, something quietly celebrated, and attended well-enough to cause a traffic jam on the freeways without any advance notice (it has no fixed schedule; the surfers get 24 hours' notice if they're lucky). But the competition's only been going for a few years, and no more than a handful of people outside the big wave community even knew Maverick's (the break) existed until Mark Foo was killed on the reef there a dozen years ago. For years it was considered a basically unsurfable combination of sharp rocks and huge waves, but it's now a fixture on the competition circuit, and the old Woy Woy / Umina Beach boy in me still just grins when he stands on the bluffs behind the shoreline and sees the break.

Tomorrow's the big day again….

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