MAVERICKS SURF CONTEST
MAVERICKS SURF SHOP
Right off the coast of Pillar Point RV Park is the
famous surfing location called Mavericks.
Mavericks, a legendary area of waves that attracts surfers from around the world, is located approximately 2 miles from the shore of Pillar Point Harbor. Winter storms and underwater geography combine to create some the world's biggest and most dangerous waves.
In early March 1961, three surfers, Alex Matienzo, Jim Thompson, and Dick Knottmeyer, decided to try the distant waves off Pillar Point. With them was a German Shepherd named Maverick who was owned by a roommate of Matienzo. Maverick was used to swimming out with his owner, or with Matienzo, while they were out surfing. The three left Maverick on shore but he swam out and caught up with them. Finding the conditions too unsafe for the dog, Matienzo paddled back and tied Maverick to the car bumper before rejoining the others. The story goes the surfers dedicated the day of adventure to Maverick.
Jeff Clark grew up in Half Moon Bay. At the time, surfing Mavericks was thought to be too dangerous for anyone. One day in 1975, at the age of 17 and with the waves topping out at 20-24 feet, Clark paddled out alone to face Maverick's. He was successful in catching a number of waves and became the first documented person to tackle Maverick's waves.
Clark and Maverick's are featured in the 1998 documentary Maverick's
, a one hour PBS
film that chronicles the break's early years, and the 2004 film Riding Giants
, which documents the history of big wave surfing.
The first big-wave surfing contest at Maverick's, founded by Jeff Clark, was held in 1999
When conditions are right during the contest window of January 1st-March 39th, 24 pre-selected surfers get a telephone call telling them when the Mavericks Surf Contest will begin. They have 24 hours to get there from wherever they are in the world.
In the past, viewers were able to hang on the beach and bluffs with their binoculars to see the surfers, but several years ago, a rogue wave came all the way to the shore and
wiped everything out. Since that time, big screens are set up around the area at different locations to watch the surfers as they are being filmed by boats out with them.
This year, 2012, conditions were not right for the contest, but there was a festival featuring the surfers who would have been riding the waves had the waves been active.
There was music all day, skate ramps, booths, food, a giant screen playing riders from past contests and an awards ceremony to honor the surfers and their accomplishments.
Jeff Clark founded Mavericks Surfshop located in the Pillar Point Harbor. Not only is it filled with beautiful, handcrafted surfboards, souveniers and photos of Mavericks waves, but anything a surfer could want.
You can even rent a surfboard...or get a lesson...
Walking: Take the path in front of Pillar Point RV Park and follow it past the Harbor. Before you come to Crab Landing, you'll see a baby blue building. That's it!
Driving: Take a left onto Hwy 1 as you exit Pillar Point RV Park. Go to the next stoplight and take a left into the harbor. Take the first left that will take you down to the pier. You will pass the Mavericks Surf Shop on the right. Park and you're there!