A massive swell is marching towards the west coast of the United States. It’s due to collide with Pillar Point in Northern California sometime during the night, and the Mavericks Big Wave Invitational has been given the green light for Friday morning. In roughly eight hours from now the first competitors will paddle out to do battle. For now they’re trying to get a couple hours of sleep in before what is expected to be a monumental day in Half Moon Bay.
Frank Solomon salutes the sunset at Pillar Point knowing what is in store the next morning.
Cape Town charger Frank Solomon is there, hoping a turn of events will see him grab a spot in the heat draw. He is on the alternates list and unless one of the invitees pulls out, or misses a flight, or gets a flat tyre on the way to the competition, it looks likely that he’ll be watching the event from the channel.
He wouldn’t miss it for the world though, because his compatriots Chris Bertish and Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker are competing and he’ll be anxious to see if they can clinch the title they’ve both taken out before (Twiggy in 2006 and Chris in 2010).
Frank sent in the following report just before hitting bed for a good night’s rest before the madness tomorrow may bring:
Thursday, 23 January 2014 – It was a beautiful day here in Northern California. The sun was out and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I just arrived back from the North Shore last night and I’m now in Half Moon Bay. There is a crazy energy buzzing around here and everyone is Mavericks crazy right now. All the newspapers and TV channels are here and there are already hundreds of people coming into town to watch. All the hotels are booked up. The waves are supposed to be really good in the morning – there is a long period swell in the water and it has just started to hit the Oregon buoys. Colin and I walked out and checked the waves right before dark and it was just capping, so hopefully it fills in overnight. I will only find out in the morning if I’m in the comp, but either way I’m gonna be out there at dark before the event starts.
I spoke to a few of the invitees to get their feelings ahead of the event:
“I’m a little concerned about the local winds and about the fog. It has been foggy the last couple days. There is a bank out there and if it comes in there is nothing we can do. It should be cooking though, bru” – Grant Washburn
Myself, Grant Wasburn and Colin Dwyer having lunch before the big day tomorrow.
“It’s a dream come true to be invited this year. I never thought it would happen. I got voted in, so that makes it even more special. Hoping for it to be big and clean in the morning.” – Colin Dwyer
“I’m very excited for the event tomorrow. The swell looks solid, the winds are light and hopefully the fog stays away, which will all make for a fantastic event. My preparation has been amazing and I’ve given myself ever opportunity to do well. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.” – Twiggy
Twiggy getting interviewed earlier today.
Here are a couple more snapshots from around the contest area:
Contest director Jeff Clark goes through the logistics.
Bertish is frothing to win it again.
Spectators are not allowed on the cliff anymore, so this is where they can watch the comp on a big screen.
Colin making sure our boards are all ready for the morning.
The event will kick-off at about 7:00pm SA time, and you can watch it LIVE on mavericksinvitational.com/
Here is the heat draw: