Mark Healey isn't one to shy away from a wave that could hand him the beating of a lifetime. When we think of Mavericks, images of heaving rights come to mind. But just on the other side of the famed right-hander lay an even more sinister slab that Mark is making his newest conquest. I gave Healey a ring while he was collecting his things at the Honolulu baggage claim to find out what motivates him to push his luck in Northern California.
Tell me about your session at Mavericks last Wednesday. People are saying it was one of the best Mavericks days ever.
The conditions were really good. When the waves came in it was absolutely beautiful—probably the best conditions I've ever seen out there. I thought it was a little inconsistent and we really had to wait for the bigger sets. But it was fun. I had a great time.
What is the left like at Mavericks?
Really heavy [laughs]. I went to Mavericks on this trip with that in mind—to just really focus on the left, and watch it and try to get some good ones. I think a lot of it has to do with how the water was moving in there and it's just a really, really violent wave. You really have to pick your battles and commit if you want to get a good one.
So what made you want to do that?
Because when it's going, it's amazing. It's a big slab, you know? I love big left barrels and nobody's going left out there. There can be 30 guys out and nobody's really going left that much, so why not have a giant slab, left barrel to yourself?
Yeah, of course. Does anyone else surf the left?
You know, guys like Tyler Fox are getting lefts pretty regularly out there. And I just wanted to really try to get 'em properly, you know? Like kind of come from the shoulder of the right and backdoor the section to try to get a real barrel. That was kind of my goal for the trip.
Did you make any?
Yeah. I made two, and I got really pounded on a couple other ones, but I got two solid barrels.
I've heard that the longer you sit out there, the more risks you start taking. Is that true?
Well, probably. I don't like sitting, that's for sure. I start getting pissed if I'm not catching waves. I start getting frustrated with myself, so I definitely don't go out to sit around, you know? At some point I'm going to put my head down on something and just go.
Even if it's not the most healthy-looking wave?
Yeah, exactly. Sometimes you just need to get on the scoreboard, you know?
A lot of people think that Mavericks can give a harder beating than any other spot in the world. Would you agree with that?
Mavericks is definitely a very, very heavy big wave. I don't think I'd make a claim like that, because you never know with water. I mean, you could go down on a 4-foot wave and something really bad happens, and the next day you get caught inside by a 25-footer and somehow it just spits you out the back. But yeah, I think consistently, Mavericks is probably my least favorite place to get pounded.
Are you working on the Jay Moriarity movie?
Yeah, that's what I was actually doing the last two days while I was over there. Yesterday was beautiful out there. I didn't go surf, I just was swimming surfboards and 80,000 dollar cameras with waterhousings into the pit, and chucking 'em over the falls [laughs].
Wow. What about the "Iron Cross" wipeout? I heard a lot of people have had fun trying to recreate that.
Not me. That's for the lucky regular-footers [laughs]. Yeah they got a few guys, including [Anthony] Tashnick, who are doing the Jay doubles and hunting for that Iron Cross wipeout.
Have you seen any good attempts lately?
I haven't seen anybody stick to it yet. Everybody seems pretty happy with making waves. So I haven't seen any voluntary Iron Crosses in the pit yet.
What do you think something like that is worth? How much of an incentive would you need?
Well, if you have really good water safety and some kind of flotation on you, I'd say that's got to be worth a good $8,000 bump on your stunt rate. If it's a proper 20-footer.