It’s 5:13 and I’m awoken by a Dodge deisel rolling loudly by my car. I rolled into town late last night, and the Pillar Point Harbor parking lot seemed like the safest place, so I crawled in the back of my beat-up SUV and slept. But now this Dodge is in my face and I’m completely awake. It seems that everyone who owns a ski is here to launch before dawn.
After a coffee I cruise around the harbor trying to bum a boatride and settle for a trip to the forbidden beach by the cove that faces the break. The police presence is heavy and it seems that only celebrities are allowed on the bluffs. Most of the press are very upset and vocal about this. After all, they were all sent here by their editors anticipating the swell of a lifetime and red carpet access. Most of my day is spent at the festival, miles away from the real action. Just boring.
It’s a ten hour ordeal, but after more hype than a San Diego south swell, the 2014 Body Glove Mavericks Invitational is complete, and Saffa Grant “Twiggy” Baker is once again our champion. Twiggy went all in from his first heat, and so did every other competitor, but they couldn’t match Baker’s big wave prowess. A lot happened, but you don’t want hear it all. So here is the important stuff, all condensed like good modern media should be.
- There are only two legitimate places to see the action with your own eyes. The cliffs/beach are closed and the boats are roughly $250 for a half day of circling the channel. Otherwise you are relegated to the webcast like the rest of the world.
- The festival did not produce a seamless webcast. The connection broke frequently and often cut out or froze during critical rides. I personally went to a coffee shop to watch the final, it was that bad.
- Healey sat inside during a slow first heat, and though he didn’t win, a GoPro on his board caught what Mike Parsons called some of the best wipeout footage ever at Mavericks. Mark’s board, along with Jamie Sterling’s, went through the washing machine, but not before capturing a priceless barrel view that I’m sure will make many GoPro ads.
- Pete Mel charged his first heat – the second of the day – with a couple nines, just in case you forgot who last year’s champ was. Too bad he only made it to the Semi-Finals. Only 23-year-old Pacifica local Colin Dwyer was able to edge Mel out with a massive backhand right that netted him a 9.5.
- Greg long admits he wouldn’t use anyone else’s big wave equipment. “I’ve traveled with a Twiggy for over ten years now. You know, we share boards often, but not big wave boards, because what he rides doesn’t work for me and what I ride doesn’t work for him.” Mike Parsons sums it up in one word: anal.
- I couldn’t get on a boat, but my friend Steve did. His report from the channel was something like this: “Wow, there are a a TON of boats.” I couldn’t tell if the local skippers were peeved that their town was invaded for the day or excited at all the money they were making. Either way, boat captains are some of the grumpiest people I’ve ever met (I’m looking at you grandpa).
- I heard whispers on the docks of dissent towards law enforcement amongst the boats. It would seem that the various Sheriff, Coast Guard, etc. are as amazed as anyone at big waves and get in the way taking pictures of themselves and scenery. Being an obstacle rather than helping.
- Waves were advertised as being up to 40 feet but ended up in the 25-30 foot range. The promoters were more generous with their estimates than the competors were.
- Parsons goes on to say that even though Shawn Dollar didn’t make the final, he “charged like a madman,” and this is true. He took a cartwheel on one of the biggest waves of the day. Dollar is like a US Navy SEAL. He’s the best and a lot of people haven’t heard of him
- Twiggy was on fire from the start of the final with a 9 and then a perfect ten and a 9.33 he shared with Tyler fox. It should be noted that Twiggy’s first heat of the day was the fourth heat overall out of seven, (he also surfed in the sixth and seven heats) and his individual event recap on the webcast could be a year’s worth of highlights.
- Twiggy wins and Shane paddles over and pulls the release on his inflatable wetsuit. Then Jeff Clark swoops in on the ski to pick twiggy up and wisk him away to countless photo opportunities and free drinks. Baker also won the Mavericks event in 2006, and just a couple of weeks ago, he won at Punta Galea in Spain’s Basque region. And to cap it off, he has not major sponsor. Any takers?
1st. Grant Baker
2nd. Shane Dorian
3rd. Ryan Augenstein
4th. Tyler Fox
5th. Greg Long
6th. Anthony Tashnick