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Mavericks delivers giant waves for the Thanksgiving holiday

December 3, 2008 |  8:41 am


I took a break from the Thanksgiving holiday to visit Mavericks on Saturday, as the season's first large swell was filling in at the notorious big-wave haunt outside Half Moon Bay.

It was an impressive display of nature and courage.

I'll be writing a story on how the day played out, to run next week in the print edition of The Times, but wanted to post a couple of photos I took from the deck of Robert Brown's remarkable boat.


Brown piloted his shooting platform so close that it rose and fell with the incoming swells, which developed into 40-foot wave faces that bowled up and generally were so scary that only top surfers, such as Grant "Twiggy" Baker, Grant Washburn (both are pictured immediately above, while taking off), Ken "Skindog" Collins, Greg and Rusty Long, et al, actually got rides.


As you can see, Mavericks gets crowded. And while few surfers on this day were brave enough to paddle onto the shoulders of these thunderous beasts, many feigned taking off, only to pull back at the last second.

This is part of the Mavericks dynamic, and the good surfers are able to judge who is going to go and who isn't.

In the below photo, Greg Long, winner of last winter's Mavericks big-wave contest, has negotiated the drop but will soon be swept up by a horizontal avalanche that leads to some frighteningly tense moments.

Stay tuned...

--Pete Thomas


Photos by Pete Thomas/Los Angeles Times