12 am: I get a phone call from Ryan Krouse saying "I am off work and Mavericks is going to be big let's go." I grab my camera gear and head out. 1 am: We meet at Jake Fishman's house, load up the car, and we're off.
The drive is long and tiring, running into thick fog through the Salinas Valley and cold temperatures the night. Two more hours to go and and Ryan reads the buoy readings aloud, "15 feet @ 15 seconds" and that's when "the stoke became real." Everyone was now awake, the music began to play louder, and there was an essence of excitement throughout the car. After an hour more of driving, we get to Santa Cruz and are only about 45 minutes away from Half Moon Bay, the home to the beast. We exit the city driving along Pacific Coast Highway and we can see a little piece of the ocean, waiting to see breaking waves. We start driving down a cliff and our first glimpse is of Scott's Creek. And there it was - a perfect offshore 15 foot wave. ITS ON! Twenty more minutes pass and we arrive in the parking lot at Mavericks.
7 am arrival and high tide. We get out of the car and feel the cool crisp air of Norther California. Ryan suggests going to hike up the mountain and check it real quick but in the car next to us are professional big wave surfers, Ken "skindog" Collins, Derek Dunfe, Shane Desmond and Zach Wormhoudt. Zack Wormhoudt turns to us and says "Don't check it, just get out there!" and that was the call! Jake and Ryan suit up, I grab all my gear, and we all walk down to the beach to see the monster come alive. After pausing for a second to take it all, Jake and Ryan are off - paddling out to conquer Mavericks. I climb up the hill on the side of the mountain, set up my tripod, and patiently wait for the sets to come in.
Unfortunately there was a lot of fog in the morning so capturing a good shot was not easy. The tide started to drop and Mavericks started to do its thing. Ryan catches the first bomb, then Jake follows. The rest of the day goes just as planned with epic surf and a perfect bright sunny day. The two finish surfing for the day, so I pack up my gear and head back to the car. We all load up grab, jumped back in the car, grabbed some food and headed straight back south to Los Angeles.
The end to our strike mission.
© 2015 Tyler Schiffman