Image from surfersvillage.com. Surfer catching wave at Mavericks
The Mavericks competition was this past Saturday bringing in the best dozen or so big waver surfers (invitation only!). The best word to describe someone who spanks waves reaching 20-30 feet, historically they have reached near 50? Cajones. Let us not forget the freezing water and jagged rocks. You can see all the pictures here (note picture 27!).
I mentioned in the past if if you want to know where the good surf spots are sure you could ask your local bro’, or you could gather some geologist and map the seafloor at high resolution. Sure the first might cost you at most a cigarette and beer while the latter requires a multiyear grant that rivals the budget of a third world country. I still vote for the mapping. We should get Ron Jon to fund geology research!
So what causes these incredible waves? Surfing gods? Nope, it is a long gradual continental slope that provides a ramp allowing waves to hold before breaking. This combines with deeper and calmer water on both sides of the ramp that cause a wave convergence.