There's a buzz in the air this morning in San Francisco. The cafe I took over as my office many years ago, at this hour normally a haunt of Grant Washburn, and Matt Lopez, and Frank Solomon, when he's in town, is eerily silent as the big-wave heroes are stalking their prey somewhere in the heavy swell-created mist that hangs over the beaches.
People who don't surf are calling me: "Are you down at the beach? Fort Point is so big they're gonna close the road." "It looks like the end of the world out there."
Cafe regulars are talking about the surf. High school kids I passed on the way to the cafe were murmuring about the surf. The National Weather Service warned us Bay Area folks away from the water, promising the risk of CERTAIN DEATH (their all caps, not mine). Late last night, once the rains stopped, I stood on my balcony and listened to the waves, surprising, since I live 1/4 mile from the beach.
It's really big. Really really big. Bear on the pier at Malibu freaking out and waxing his wooden board big (Kids—that's a “Big Wednesday” reference).
"Once in a decade" gets thrown around a lot when talking about big winter swells, but I've lived in San Francisco for ten years now and this is, officially, the biggest swell I've ever seen.
Yet, no Mavericks event.
I get it, people right now are towing into the most monster Mavericks I can remember. It would be death on a stick paddling into those.
But tomorrow? Winds don't look bad. Swell still huge, but smaller. Wednesday, same deal.
But the BWWT announced yesterday they're postponing the event until January at the earliest.
"We will not be running the Mavericks Challenge this week and will wait for more optimum conditions," said Mike Parson, BWWT boss.
"January is typically the best month for Mavericks so we'll be watching things closely and hoping for a great finish to the season."
I can't question the safety concerns—I'm sure as hell not paddling out at Mavs today, or any day—but feels a lot like the kind of week we're going to remember for many years, with no Mavericks event to show for it.
Until then, I'll be wandering the nooks and crannies, I'm my own version of The Search. The Search for once in a lifetime novelty waves.
Here’s the rest of the BWWT statement.
During the Big Wave season window, the WSL Big Wave team is constantly monitoring an array of weather charts and tracking big storms crossing the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans with the help of our forecasting partner, Surfline. The waves must be a consistent minimum 25 feet on the face of the wave throughout the entire time of competition. [ed note: Dude, it will be for the next few days.] Wind, tide and the effects they have will play a part when making the call.
Below is the first look at Mavericks this morning from Derek Dunfee.