This time every year surfing enthusiasts and professionals around the world waits with baited breath for the announcement of the Titans of Mavericks Surf Contest in Half Moon Bay, CA. This famous annual event draws the world’s most decorated surfing pros for some of the biggest, gnarliest waves known to the surfing man. While these legends spend time in town qualifying and practicing for the big event, impatient Mavericks Surf Contest spectators, many of whom also travel for the event, wait with baited breath for the announcement of the year’s competition. The time of year is once again upon us, so gear up for another battle on the waves.
The Titans of Mavericks Surf Contest will happen within the season, which begins January 1st and runs through March 31st. Twenty-four titans will compete this year, having been hand-selected by the Committee 5 – the Mavericks Surf Contest’s official deliberation team. Among this group of Mavericks’ veterans is Jeff Clark, the Half Moon Bay native who was the first ever person to surf the big wave in 1975 as a high school kid. He has competed in big wave competitions worldwide, and has been surfing Mavericks for 40 years.
Competitors are watched closely by the C5, as they are known, during the preseason months, and are judged according to a list of criteria. The C5 is concerned with more than just fitness and skill, but also dedication to the Mavericks wave and understanding of it’s makeup, but also on their character. The mavericks compete under very strenuous conditions and the judges need to be sure their heart is in it for the right reasons. Are you involved in the community? Do you have good rapport with the other big wave surfers? Basically, are you an upstanding citizen who, in case of emergency, will respond in a predictable manner?
These questions of character are important because of the number of deaths that have occurred in Mavericks’ rocky waters since the wave was discovered in the 1960 by a group of locals who had made the Pillar Point Harbor their usual surf spot. In their early years at the point these men began to notice that about a mile out there was a giant wave. They built up the confidence to swim out to it one day to see how big it was, and swam back without riding it, having observed its 60-foot swells. Mavericks has been rightfully feared ever since, attracting only surfers who are truly up to challenge after decades of experience in the water. These big wave professionals are referred to as the Titans of Maverick.
If the surf lore and big waves have a soft spot in your heart, keep your ears open for the announcement of the big day. It was recently announced that the annual Mavericks Surf Festival has been called off, and as is now usual, the Pillar Point cliffs will be closed to spectators. Although the best way to watch the competition is to tune into the live webcast, Half Moon Bay establishments are sure to be hosting events and airing the big day. The town is always abuzz for one of the world’s most renowned surf competitions, on one of its biggest waves known to man.