I just want to tell you, up front, you’re beautiful. No matter how you’ve been treated lately. Passed around, with little regard for what you want. You’re a big, beautiful lovely beast. Did anyone ever ask you what you wanted? Probably not. Dicks.
So this season, feel free to take the year off. Hell, take two off. Nobody owns you, Maverick’s.
Look, I’ve never surfed you. Too inexperienced. Too slow. Too chicken. But I do in my wildest, wettest dreams. Not the days when you’re big and unruly, with the onshore wind blowing your tips down, spraying powerful mist towards shore that drives intense fear into the hearts of brave surfers. You’re beautiful then, too, Maverick’s. But that’s when you really scare me.
You lull me into false confidence when you’re only kinda big, and super clean, blessed with organized swell and the oiliest of conditions.
But just because I haven’t ridden you doesn’t mean I haven’t lusted for you intensely. I can’t help myself. I’ve written about how you’ve changed hands a thousand times, how somebody always has to own you. Like property. Even if it’s just a silly permit from some harbor commission, so they can hold a silly contest. Each new “owner” is bright-eyed and ready to make you “famous.” Contests held on you are going to “change surfing,” they say. They’re gonna bring a “festival” atmosphere, bring in bands to play, and print t-shirts (fuckin’ t-shirts, for God’s sake, like this, is Everest or some shit) ushering in cable deals and mainstream sponsors, all willing to drown in your unpredictability. Fuckin’ t-shirts.
Yes, there have been moments when the heathens hold events on your waters, moments when Flea and Twiggy and Greg and all the other legends have shined. But the most memorable moments have always happened without judges when it’s just Shane Dorian fighting for his goddamn life to escape your grip. Or Peter Mel and Ken Collins and all the boys discovering you for the first time, putting the Santa Cruz crew on the map. It’s Mark Healey going left. It’s not some contest. Some aberration of capitalism spawning on your precious waters, trying to make a buck off your beauty without even asking you. Fuckin’ t-shirts.
And you’ve proven you can be deadly, that you can rear up at any moment and take the most respectful among us away forever. Like Sion or Mark. But they don’t listen, Maverick’s. They don’t get that sometimes, nature doesn’t want to be contained, doesn’t want to be packaged and bottled up and sold like some goddamned product. One of these days, someone is going to be killed during a contest. And then what? The whole industry falls apart because the entire world witnessed someone dying on a webcast? Can’t we just leave you to the freesurfers, Maverick’s? The locals and lovers of your moods, the ones who study your every curve? They just need a swell chart, a friend, two cups of coffee, a nervous drive contemplating life and a hike through the marine layer to see what you’re doing. They don’t need a mother-fucking webcast.
This is the most impressive photo I have taken at Mavericks. Some people even think it is fake, but it’s the real deal. It was an unusual winter morning in Half Moon Bay with lemony yellow clear sky. The large swell we’re approaching and all of the bests big wave surfers around the world showed up for these epic waves. This particular photo was taken of Terence Saeman towing with his brother @cowboybruce just after sunrise 🌅 when a few tow-teams started taking their chances before the paddle session started.
And now the WSL has your permit. Bought on the auction block, another remnant of a world gone bad. The WSL swoops in, like a dog waiting for scraps at the table. But they’ve been slobbering and salivating over that permit since they applied for it in 2015, trying to elbow their way in even though somebody else already had one. They want to make it the preeminent event on the Big Wave World Tour. They’re even partnering with Griffin Guess and Titans of Mavericks—the latest group to try and own you—so Guess can continue to, “produce premium lifestyle goods and services as well as media content under the ‘Titans of Mavericks’ brand,” while the WSL runs the event alongside its other Big Wave World Tour contests.
What in the actual f***, Maverick’s? Two years ago, the WSL didn’t seem to even want to acknowledge that Guess existed, trying to win a permit out from under him. Now—probably because of massive debt incurred by Guess and his entities, meaning he can’t give everything up—they’re partnering?
So yeah, feel free to take the winter off, maybe two. Go flat as a pancake, bring those oily conditions but refuse to accept Mother Nature’s swell. Make waterskiing look inviting in front of Pillar Point. Just take a nap during the waiting period. Say yes to those giant swells in October or the random ones in late April, so the truly dedicated can ride you, but yeah, go flat otherwise. Because you deserve more. Nobody owns you, Maverick’s.
Anyways, thinking of you always,