Print and Go Back Surfing [Print without images]

Thursday, October 13, 2011
Opening day at Maverick's

Summer's officially done, and there were nothing but good vibes during the opening session at Maverick's yesterday. Greg Long with the drop, Ken "Skindog" Collins with the support.

If Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow is the indicator for the end of winter, then opening day at Maverick's is the official sign the North Pacific is alive and Aleutian juice will flow once more. As the Papa buoy sprang back to life early this week, guns came down from the rafters, life vests were checked, and the big-wave brotherhood waited excitedly along the West Coast for the first major swell of the season.

In the pre-dawn light of a crisp fall morning, a healthy group of Maverick's finest jumped into Half Moon Bay and the big-wave season was officially underway. Old faces, young bucks, a couple SUPs and a small group of photogs all welcomed the swell with open arms. Although Alex Martins and Greg Long rode the waves of the day, there were plenty of hoots and hollers for just about every ride. Although the size was far from XXL, you couldn't tell from the energy level.

Ken "Skindog" Collins and a few of the other Santa Cruz regulars were in attendance. "Opening day at Mavs is always a rush," said Skindog, with his usual high level of froth. "No matter who you are or how good you are, Mavs scares you on some level, and it's good to get that feeling again. All the regulars were charging and that's what this brotherhood is al about."

And if surfing Maverick's wasn't enough excitement for you, there has been a few recent sightings on the reef of the 15-foot man in white. Everyone who surfs these waters knows the realities of gliding in the Red Triangle, but when a Great White starts dropping in on you, it's a whole new ballgame. Because of the frequency of appearances, the Discovery Channel was out in the afternoon filming a documentary on the interaction between man and shark. What's next? Is the Navy going to use surfers for target practice from their perch on the bluff? Cold water, heavy wipeouts, giant fish, two-wave hold-downs and an all-star cast of the worlds best big wave surfers, Mavs might be the greatest show on surf.

When asked about his first session of the year, Long explained, "It wasn't what we call big by any means, but there were still a few solid waves. It was a great way to dust off the cobwebs. Everyone was surfing well and it's a sign of the good things to come."

As the big wave community turns its collective gaze towards the long-term models, the wide-eyed enthusiasm of another winter permeates the air. It's still very early in the season to expect any kind of consistency, but the promise of what's to come has everyone smiling.