posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 06:56 PM
Off the coast of Northern California south of San Francisco lies the sleepy coastal community of Half Moon Bay. Just up the road off the shore lies a
unique geological feature. First discovered in 1975 and called the Mavericks Break, or Mavericks by locals it is capable of producing some of the
biggest waves in the world given the right conditions. The indicators were there on Tuesday and a world wide flash went out to surfers everywhere. In
less than 24 hours this small town became the epicenter of the big wave surfing world. When the waves are right, surfers and spectators alike will
flock from the four corners of the world to participate (27 this year) and spectate.
My first exposure to the surfing at Mavericks came thanks to my father in the late eighties. Its really funny when I think about it, my dad never had
even a passing interest in surfing, but he knew an interesting event when he saw one. I still remember that day, as I watched board after board, wave
after wave, and I was struck by the persistence and the courage of the surfers as they battled waves as high as 50 feet. I was 18 at the time and
looking back I still marvel at the small size of the crowd. It could not have been more that 100 or so people including the surfers there that day.
Did I learn a lesson that day? None that would be in my conscience until later in my life.
I returned to Mavericks when able and has the misfortune of being present in 1994. Mark Foo, who at the time was considered among the elite of big
wave riders suffered the ultimate wipe out and died. Again in 1999 and 2000 when the waves seemed to tower over even the spectating area. The
realities of fatherhood and sick parents forced my absence at last year.
Tuesday when the alert went out, I decided it would be a blast to take my toddler to see the waves. Braving the crush of traffic we made our way to
the point to view the activities. Matthew was enthralled by what he saw. Rare for our 100 mph child he was content to simply stand for hours and watch
wave after wave. His toddler cries of "its waaater" or "its big waaater" surfers became "bub bubs" each time he would look back at me to make sure I
heard. When each run was complete he clapped with the crowd and gave a small "yeah".
I was struck by the fact that the effect on my son was almost the same effect I had the first time I had witnessed it. The sheer enormity of the
waves, the awesum power of nature, the sheer audacity of the surfers trying to conquer the 45 foot waves effected both of us. The lessons of
persistence and conquering one fears were what I took from my experience yesterday and I hope my son will in the future.
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