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Mavericks, Half Moon Bay

4.5
#2 of 14 in Beaches in Half Moon Bay
Beach · Landmark
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Mavericks is a surfing location in northern California about 2mi from shore outside Pillar Point Harbor, just north of the town of Half Moon Bay at the village of Princeton-by-the-Sea. After a strong winter storm in the northern Pacific Ocean, waves can routinely crest at over 25ft and top out at over. Routinely, waves that break can be recorded on seismometers. The break is caused by an unusually shaped underwater rock formation.
Mavericks is a winter destination for some of the world's best big wave surfers. Very few riders become big wave surfers, and of those, only a select few are willing to risk their lives under the hazardous, sometimes deadly, conditions at Mavericks. An invitation-only contest is held there most winters, when the waves come.
In early March 1967, Alex Matienzo, Jim Thompson, and Dick Notmeyer surfed the distant waves of Pillar Point. With them was Matienzo's roommate's white-haired German Shepherd, Maverick, who was accustomed to swimming with his owner and Matienzo while they were surfing. The three surfers left Maverick on shore, but he swam out to them. Finding the conditions unsafe for the dog, Matienzo tied him up before rejoining the others. The riders had limited success that day as they surfed overhead peaks about 1/4 mile from shore, just along the rocks that are visible from shore; they deemed the bigger outside waves too dangerous. The surfers named the location after Maverick, who seemed to have gotten the most pleasure from the experience.
A visit to Mavericks represents just the start of the adventure when you use our Half Moon Bay online trip itinerary builder to plot your vacation.
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Mavericks reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
215 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • We were hoping for some high surf during our brief one-day visit but did not get any. The beach area is nice and there are great views of the break area. Lots of wildlife along the trail from the... 
    We were hoping for some high surf during our brief one-day visit but did not get any. The beach area is nice and there are great views of the break area. Lots of wildlife along the trail from the...  more »
  • Once a year, the best big wave surfers on earth have 24 hours notice to reach Half Moon Bay, CA. Their goal is to compete in a surfing competition with one of the biggest paddle-in waves in the... 
    Once a year, the best big wave surfers on earth have 24 hours notice to reach Half Moon Bay, CA. Their goal is to compete in a surfing competition with one of the biggest paddle-in waves in the...  more »
Google
  • This is such a fun, dog-friendly beach! When the tide is low, you can bring buckets and find cool things under water. You’ll probably have to do more research on what exactly people find, but there were dozens of families and people out on a Sunday afternoon with buckets full of things! Very cool! Also the starfish and other wildlife was so beautiful! Only con: very limited parking and be cognizant of parking in LEGAL spots. Cheers mate!!
  • I didn't dress warm enough (or look at the reviews ahead of time) for the walk from the parking lot to the good part of the beach. A lot of the initial foreground seems to be muddy and under construction. Couldn't see the cliffs at all from the water's edge off the parking lot. Very calm waters with not much going on. Nice mountains in the distance with some small planes flying around.

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