Maggie: And, hey, surfing is why you’re here. Right, Keith?
Keith: Yeah, Maggie. I have got another gnarly Play of the Week.
A South African surfer took home the top prize of $12,000 at a legendary surf contest known as Mavericks International. And as you will see, when the surf’s up at Mavericks, the best in the world can’t get there fast enough.
The monster waves at Mavericks were more than 40 feet high, the ultimate thrill for adrenaline-filled surfers off California’s Half Moon Bay.
Jeff Clark: When Mavericks happens, it’s like one of these natural wonders of the world.
Keith: Jeff Clark was the first to surf this break when he was just 17 years old. Now, he runs the contest that attracts the best big wave surfers on earth. But it is all about the timing.
The twenty-four contestants and thousands of fans had less than 48 hours notice to get here. Sugar Molina drove twelve hours to Mavericks with two of her surfer friends.
Sugar Molina: To actually be in Half Moon Bay and experience it with other people who surf and understand what it feels like to ride a wave, it’s just an amazing feeling to be surrounded by all those people.
Keith: And while Mother Nature was cooperating, it was Mark Sponslor, a surf forecaster who helped make the contest happen, accurately predicting the perfect surf was on its way.
Mark Sponslor: You want the swell, but not the chop and the winds. You don’t want the perfect storm. You want it like a lake, sheet glass with these giant, long swells rolling in.
Keith: Sponslor, a surfer himself, saw just the right storm building Monday in the middle of the Pacific.
Sponslor: Hurricane-force winds started developing on the International Date Line, pushing east, which generated seas, raw, stormy, surf, all pushing right towards Northern California, right here at Mavericks.
Keith: It is the same weather pattern that is responsible for California’s drought. A persistent West Coast high pressure system, which is a whirling mass of cool, dry air that generally brings fair weather and light winds, has sent every storm north this winter, missing California. But the waves created by the storms still get here.
If there is a silver lining to California’s drought, the surfers at Mavericks have found it.
Molina: They’re coming into this wave and your heart starts to palpitate. They don’t know if they’re going to survive that wave, you know, if they’re going to come back.
Keith: Now, the 40-foot waves at Mavericks were definitely monsters, but get this: it is believed the biggest wave ever surfed was 100 feet.
Maggie: That is insane! Wow!