I love good old-fashioned epic. And nothing fascinates quite like the invitation-only Maverick’s surf contest, in which 24 of the world’s top big wave riders compete on one of the largest known breaks.
The contest window spans November to March, when winter storms produce monster waves. And when conditions are right, the surfers vote whether to hold the contest.
I’d been diligently watching the Maverick’s watch all season. After rain and wind scuttled a few otherwise promising swells, the contest was finally called for Saturday, February 13. With 50,000 spectators expected at Pillar Point, a viewing area the size of my unsizable apartment, and the wave half a mile out to sea, I chose to brave the $25 entrance fee for the live broadcast at AT&T Park instead.
When I arrived, there were a few hundred other souls in the outfield upper deck. The sun had burned through the fog, and it quickly became apparent that my black turtleneck was a huge mistake. (As was the lack of sunscreen.) I was tempted to buy a $20 Maverick’s tank top. But, with the crew raffling off t-shirts at half-hour intervals, I thought I’d take my chances, given my streak of wins lately (air plant, clown improv workshop).