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Mavericks, Half Moon Bay

4.4
Mavericks is a surfing location in northern California about 2mi from shore outside Pillar Point Harbor, just north of the town of Half Moon Bay at the village of Princeton-by-the-Sea. After a strong winter storm in the northern Pacific Ocean, waves can routinely crest at over 25ft and top out at over. Routinely, waves that break can be recorded on seismometers. The break is caused by an unusually shaped underwater rock formation.
Mavericks is a winter destination for some of the world's best big wave surfers. Very few riders become big wave surfers, and of those, only a select few are willing to risk their lives under the hazardous, sometimes deadly, conditions at Mavericks. An invitation-only contest is held there most winters, when the waves come.
In early March 1967, Alex Matienzo, Jim Thompson, and Dick Notmeyer surfed the distant waves of Pillar Point. With them was Matienzo's roommate's white-haired German Shepherd, Maverick, who was accustomed to swimming with his owner and Matienzo while they were surfing. The three surfers left Maverick on shore, but he swam out to them. Finding the conditions unsafe for the dog, Matienzo tied him up before rejoining the others. The riders had limited success that day as they surfed overhead peaks about 1/4 mile from shore, just along the rocks that are visible from shore; they deemed the bigger outside waves too dangerous. The surfers named the location after Maverick, who seemed to have gotten the most pleasure from the experience.
A visit to Mavericks represents just the start of the adventure when you use our Half Moon Bay online trip itinerary builder to plot your vacation.
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  • Mavericks has become a famous surfing area with waves reported to have been over 35 feet This is the site of the Mavericks Surf Contest held once a year, weather and conditions permitting. It’s a...  more »
  • Got there early in the morning on a sunny day beach was nearly empty with a view from another planet.  more »

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