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One Unpredictable Day At Mavericks

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  • One Unpredictable Day At Mavericks

    A well written article on Mavericks, December 17 2018 by Marcus Sanders for Surfline

    Over the last 33 years, we’ve gotten pretty good at predicting big swells here at Surfline.
    Following ‘em from when they’re just wee blips on the models to full-blown purple blobs
    in the ocean to actual numbers on the buoys is almost as fun as actual surfing. Seriously.
    We love this stuff. At risk of sounding overly poetic, it’s the ever-changing ocean providing
    a beautiful, quantifiable narrative arc of wind over water creating waves that gets us excited.

    Kai Lenny. Photo: Nikki Brooks

    But the best thing about these big swells — sorry, Forecast and Science teams — is the unpredictability
    of what happens when they actually hit the beach. Because, like anything, when you introduce the
    human element, all forecast tools are out the window.

    For example: The models couldn’t have showed all captains refusing to head out of port at Pillar Point Harbor
    at 6am this morning, despite about 40 paying customers — filmers, surfers and spectators — waiting on the dock.
    LOLA couldn’t have predicted Anthony Tashnick and Kai Lenny ruling this morning’s tow session.

    Or Lenny’s aerial assault. Or Francisco Porcella attempting a floater on a PWC after towing Nic Von Rupp in from very deep.
    And the spectral buoy readings would’ve never said in a million years that Lenny was one of the first to paddle and shred at 10am,
    or that he was joined by a crew of other young Hawaiians, including Nathan Florence, Billy Kemper, Koa Rothman, Danny Fuller
    and Torrey Meister, who were in the lineup from dawn to dusk, bobbing around on a little boat in between making giant drops
    and/or taking serious beatings alongside a solid-and-growing local crew.

    Kai Lenny. Photo: Todd Turner

    Even years of firsthand experience covering swells here went out the window today. Normally, the parking lot at Pillar Point is full
    of big trucks and big boards and big-wave dudes walking from the lot down the long trail to paddle out. I usually intercept them
    on the way out or back and pester ‘em with questions about how it was or what their strategy would be.

    Today, I saw only one surfer paddle off the beach all afternoon. Turns out, at this size, everyone opts for a PWC or a boat,
    which makes sense. Today, the cliff and the trail and the surrounding streets were packed with all manner of Bay Area curiosity seekers —
    many brought out due to an onslaught of mainstream “Swell of the Century” news coverage. There were teenage girls perched
    dangerously close to the cliff’s edge taking Instagram selfies. Outdoorsy parents with 4WD strollers. Crusty locals yelling out to anyone who’d listen,
    “You’ll never see anything like this again!” Elderly tourists rounding the corner of the cliff, squinting out past Sail Rock, and saying,
    “Huh, it’s not as big as I thought it was going to be” — until they realized that wasn’t a set, and those things in the water were not birds
    but jet-skis. Because when sets came, even from a few hundred yards away and looking through spray, glare and rocks,
    the crowd would utter a collective “Holy crap!”

    Photo: Nikki Brooks

    Once I realized that my normal interception on the trail routine wasn’t going to work, I improvised.
    The launch ramp at dusk turned out to be a who’s who of big-wave surfers, photographers and filmers
    as skis made their way in from a long day’s work.

    First, I cornered longtime Mav’s photog/safety person Frank Quirarte. “Kai Lenny won the day for sure,” he said.
    “He was murdering it. It wasn’t overly gigantic. It was hitting on the third reef, but it wasn’t focusing on the
    bowl till this afternoon, which is when the best paddle surfing happened.”

    Article Continues
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  • #2
    Nice read.

    Most surfing articles are bordering on unreadable.