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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!