Surfing on the Weekends

Ever since my friend Jack Richins introduced me to surfing, it has been a lifelong passion. One of the better surfing spots coming from Seattle, Washington is Westport. But it’s almost a two hour drive away.

We’d wake up (early for a Saturday) around 6:00 AM, load up our boards, grab the wetsuits, and head for Westport. The music was loud (usually some selection by The Who was playing). It helped to shake us from the early morning stupor. Most conversations revolved around two things: surfing and software programming (who would have expected nerd surfers?).

I’d always bring a stack of surfer magazines. We’d flip through the pages, read stories to each other, talk about what surfers we thought were great and who were overrated. We always looked forward to the yearly magazine issue reporting on Mavericks and the famous big wave riders of Half Moon Bay.

Pillar Point Harbor entrance

Pillar Point Harbor entrance

Walking the Mavericks Beach

All those years riding waves, talking about Mavericks, and I had never ¬†set foot there. I’d been to California many times but never found a way to get out to Half Moon Bay. So I took great pleasure in finally setting foot on the beaches of Pillar Point Harbor and seeing where it all happens.

It’s a bit of a walk from the entrance around the outcropping out to the big waves. Along the way, I encountered sand filled beaches, gorgeous rock formations, and plenty of Northern California sea life.

Tide Pool at Mavericks

Tide Pool at Mavericks

The Beauty of Mavericks

Once you’ve reached the edge of the beach, at low tide, you can climb over the slippery rocks to reach the other side. I was amazed by the endless tide pools filled with crabs, lobster, sea¬†anemones, and starfish. It seemed like every few steps, I was finding some new creature I hadn’t seen before.

I’ve spent a lot of time on the beaches of the Pacific Northwest and have a good knowledge of the common sea life there. The tide pools of Mavericks were truly wonderful. I discovered new plants I’d never seen before. The lush colors combined into a rainbow the spread across the jagged beach rocks.

Remembering the dead

Remembering the dead

Reminders of the Dead

As inviting as the waves seemed, there were constant reminders of the dangers of surfing at Mavericks. It’s strictly for the professional surfer and yet signs everywhere memorialized great big wave riders of the past who died at Mavericks in spite of being pros.

Some names I recognized, others I didn’t. There are probably more that were lost but don’t have a sign to remember them by. But to me, just being in this place, a place I had always wanted to see with my own eyes (not just as a picture in a surfing magazine), made me feel grateful.

All those times sitting out past the break, waiting for the next set of waves, looking at the endless body of water, and the only thought that comes to mind is how small you are. How powerful the sea is. How you always give it your respect. And how much peace it can bring. It’s like being in nature’s church. And that’s exactly how I felt standing on the shores of Mavericks.