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It’s fair to say Maverick’s played host to a historic big-wave season throughout the 2020/2021 winter. Maybe it was the frequent XXL swells waking the place up? Maybe it was just the sheer number of monumental sessions we all relived through viral social-media clips? We saw Peter Mel on an unimaginable wave — one that seemed to speak to all of us regarding our own searches for the ride of a lifetime. Or maybe it was just a pandemic-stricken year and no Big Wave World Tour that had us all seeking out competition in some way shape or form?

Only time will tell just where this past winter at Mavs placed in the history books, but there’s no doubt it was a special season. And documenting it all throughout was the first-ever Mavericks Awards, a virtual, winter-long big wave contest. Whereas Mavs has been the site of various single-day big wave events through the years, the new competition, announced in 2019, is part of a new breed of digital surf events.

“The thing about Mavericks is that it’s difficult and incredibly finicky,” contest organizer Chris Cuvelier told The Inertia in 2020. “The reports can change in seconds, up on the hill the Navy outpost has blackout dates when you can’t run contests… to pick one day for the contest to run the stars really had to line up. A video contest is a modern format and what we’re seeing is, more and more, that format is being adopted in the big-wave category.”

With that in mind, the Mavericks Awards set out to award $25,000 in prize money to surfers and photographers after tasking them with chronicling, then submitting, their best waves of the season. The prize money will be given out across five categories: Male Performer of the Year, Female Performer of the Year, Biggest Wave, Best Barrel, and Ride of the Year.

With the contest window now closed, The Mavericks Awards will be streamed LIVE on The Inertia and on Instagram Live on Thursday, May 13 at 6 p.m. Pacific Time.


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