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Mavericks Half Moon Bay is a Surfer’s Dream

August 5, 2015 by Mill Rose Inn

mavericks half moon bay

Photo Credit: Dennis Yang / Flickr

Surfing is one of Half Moon Bay’s most popular pastimes, and not just for the kids or the local water lovers, but in the winter months it becomes a hotbed for professionals from around the world. Mavericks Half Moon Bay is one of the most famous swells on the entire globe, and home to the epic Titans of Mavericks surf competition each winter. Whether you are yourself a professional surfer or aspiring to compete on this level, spending some time out on the waters of Mavericks Half Moon Bay is practically a prerequisite to entering this world of great waves.

Where and What is Mavericks Half Moon Bay?

This famous wave is found about a mile off the coast of one of the area’s most popular surfing spots for wave riders, Pillar Point. During the winter months the Mavericks wave is known to rise up to 60 feet high, and can be so ferociously explosive that it can actually be recorded on the Richter scale. While it is one of the world’s most celebrated swells, it is inevitably one of its most treacherous as well, having taken the lives of many people throughout the years. Half Moon Bay native, Jeff Clark, was the first person to surf the big wave in 1975, just a high schooler at the time. While out surfing with some friends, he noticed the wave offshore and made a plan to swim out and hit it. He has been surfing Mavericks every year for the past 40 years.

Titans of Mavericks

Titans of Mavericks Half Moon Bay takes place sometime within the season, which opens January 1st and runs through March 31st. In the preseason, hopeful competitors head to the area to show off their skills with the hopes of being one of the 24 finalists chosen to compete during the official showdown. Competitors are watched closely by the C5, as the judges 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 the ability to understand its makeup and, ultimately, 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 are incredibly important questions to answer before allowing someone to compete in such a high-stakes race.

Mavericks has been rightfully feared since its discovery, attracting only surfers who are truly up to challenge after decades of experience in the water, many of whom have earned the title Titan of Mavericks Half Moon Bay. If you are capable of competing on this level, start gearing up for another great season of surfing off the Northern California Coast. If you love surfing but your skill is more intermediate, considering coming to witness the breathtaking competition, and hitting the waves elsewhere in the area. They are still great waves!

If you’re looking for other things to do while visiting the area, check out this free Half Moon Bay vacation guide!

Get Ready for Mavericks Surf Contest

January 2, 2015 by Mill Rose Inn

mavericks surf contest

Mavericks Big Waves / Photo By Robert Scoble via Flickr

 

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.

A Few Ways to Enjoy Pillar Point Harbor

October 31, 2014 by Mill Rose Inn

Pillar Point Harbor

Pillar Point Harbor

 

When you’re staying with us at the Mill Rose Inn you don’t want to miss the chance to see the historic Pillar Point Harbor. Just a ten minute drive from the inn, the Harbor is a notable West Coast attraction for many reasons. It’s a great addition to a day at the water as it is just steps from a beautiful beach and delicious oceanside restaurants. After you’ve filled up on our memorable breakfast in the garden-side dining room, head to Pillar Point Harbor and take in the sites.

Charter Boat Tours

The United States Coast Guard charters numerous boat tours from Pillar Point Harbor. Catch a boat to do some fishing or whale watching. Or maybe you’re more interested in a coastal tour of the the harbor to learn about what makes it the safest harbor on the West Coast. Take this opportunity to learn about the harbors natural history of its marshes and diverse species. Learn about the historic fishing industry where crabbing and salmon fishing are still large markets.

Sporting

Fishing it the obvious option at the harbor. You can charter a boat or fish right off the pier. Pillar Point also has world famous surf. It is the home of the annual invitation only Mavericks Surf Competition every winter when the big waves come. It is a spectacle worth witnessing if you happen to be in town to catch it. The dates are rarely confirmed until the last minute as they depend completely on the weather. There are plenty of boat rentals as well if you’d prefer to get out on the water in a sea kayak.

Fish Market

Enjoy a largely lost tradition at Pillar Point with the dockside fish sales. Buy fish fresh from the water and directly from the fishermen. It doesn’t get much better than that. Call the Fish Phone for information about what is being sold. Of course you can catch your own as well. Or just come witness the hustle and bustle of this age-old tradition from the beach. It’s a window into the world before supermarket fish counters.

Boat Lighting Ceremony

It’s worth planning a trip around the holidays just to catch this annual tradition. Come see the boats light up to celebrate the season on December 13th, for the 27th annual Boat Lighting Ceremony. Gain a different appreciation for nautical life as vessel silhouettes reflect off the Pacific. Bring something warm to drink, and head across the street to the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company afterwards to try some local beers and delicious food.

 

The Pillar Point Harbor is an experience you don’t want to miss. It’s rich history and traditions are a unique American cultural experience and a great contrast to the nearby urban centers of San Francisco and San Jose. When you’re visiting us at the Mill Rose Inn you won’t want to miss the chance to enjoy this California treat. Come wash the salt water off your body in our hot tub, and get cozy in your room with a warm drink and a great movie after a day on the water.