Photo Courtesy of WSL

Highlights From a Mental Week at Mavericks

By Jake Embrey

2020 was a dormant year for professional surfing.

World tour events canned, contracts shredded, and international travel a faux pas; but the second year of the decade started with a bang. No, not the thousands of armed incel delinquents storming the US Capitol kind of bang, but the 50-foot of ice-cold Nor Cal-ocean-landing-on-your-back kind of bang. In other words, Mavericks has been pumping.

It was the kind of swell that not only has surf websites reaching for the tissue paper, but one which gets covered (read: butchered) by mainstream TV channels around the globe. Hell, even your old pal MC couldn’t let this slide.

On the first weekend of the new year—while many of us were still recollecting our scattered brains—Kai Lenny, Ian Walsh, Jamie Mitchell, and Lucas Chianca hopped on the first flight from Oahu heading to San Francisco. They were anticipating the same swell they just surfed at Jaws to be arriving at Half Moon Bay in the coming days.

On the first few days, Kai split his time between his gun and tow-board, and during a tow stint, managed to lay down a chop hop/alley oop.


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A post shared by Kai Lenny (@kai_lenny)

 Yes, Kai did an ‘air’ at Mavericks. He also threw up a little snippet to his Instagram, providing an insight into what going over the falls at Mavericks would be like: fucked. This same day, Peter Mel set aside time for some parent-child bonding as his son rescued him near the rocks on the inside.

This swell, however, was quickly eclipsed by the following weekend.

On Friday, Mel rode what is being labelled the ‘wave of the decade’ at Mavs and is arguably the best barrel ever threaded there.

‘That wave was by far my best in 29 years of surfing Maverick’s,’ Pete told Surfline. ‘I mean, I’ve been seeing those types of waves my whole life. But I was never brave enough to do it.’ When Pete received the ultimate chip shot (that’s not a vaccine with a microchip), that all changed as he drew a brave line and stood tall under the roof of a wave stolen from Kelly Slater’s Pro Surfing on the PS2.

Then there was yesterday, where Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker, a megalodon of the big wave world got it handed to him on a late drop. Over the past week, Twiggy had been on some of the bigger waves of the sessions, and yesterday decided to try and emulate the wave Peter Mel rode day’s prior. Unlike Mel’s wave, however (the Sofia Loren of Maverick’s barrels), Twiggy’s steepened, dropped him from the sky and before threw him over the falls.

Tow boards were once again sought for and Mel, who can’t get enough of the spotlight, was snapped by Fred Pompermayer on a wave which surmises surfing Mavs as a whole: a massive, cold, scary wave, which for 99% of us is best enjoyed via your Instagram feed.

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