By Amanda Curry
Big wave surfing is no joke, those who do it risk their lives on waves that are over 60 feet high and weigh as much as 400 tons (which is about the same as 315 small cars). The Mavericks Invitational, held in Northern California, aims to celebrate and reward those who dare to challenge one of the most powerful forces of nature, as the waves explode with such ferocity that it can be recorded on the Richter scale.
Due to unpredictable weather patterns, these extreme athletes only get a 48-hour notice before paddling out at one of the most dangerous surf spots in the world.
They're big wave surfers, and anytime between November and April they could get the call from officials that the waves and weather are just right. Which means they have just two days to travel from countries all over the world and head to Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay for the Mavericks Invitational big wave surfing event.
One big wave daredevil, Nic Lamb, is particularly notable. The guy surfed these massive waves at Half Moon Bay for the first time when he was only 14 years old. Upon telling his mother, she promptly grounded him. (And if that doesn't sum up the danger, I don't know what does.)
But that didn't stop Lamb. He continued to surf big waves, with the dream of being invited to surf in the Mavericks Invitational, and after serving as an alternate for years, he finally got his invite.
Even though he has years of experience surfing in the area, Lamb knows how unpredictably dangerous the waves at Mavericks can be.
"I fear that wave more than anything... Mavericks is a creepy, mysterious place. Hazards are pretty much endless up there. There's great white sharks, the water's freezing, there's jagged rocks, it's just a scary all-around place," Lamb said.
In recent news, the Mavericks brand and the Mavericks Invitational were acquired by Cartel Management, a company owned by Griffin Guess. The new partnership and management has many surfers excited for the changes to come.
"Griffin Guess wants the story of Mavericks -- one of the biggest surf breaks in the world -- to be revered and treasured by audiences around the globe. And he wants the thrill-seekers who are invited to ride its cranky and towering liquid face during the Mavericks Invitational to become icons, to feel and be treated like professional athletes," reported The Santa Cruz Sentinel.
Though these professional athletes make it look easy, it's not rare that they experience Mavericks' unruly power in dangerous wipeouts: