Wednesday night I took a flight from Oahu to San Francisco to surf Mavericks on Thursday and Friday.
That day I surfed in Sunset, Pinballs and towed in at Backyards so I was feeling already a little bit out of body at the airport. I flew all night and all morning on Thursday because I couldn’t get a direct flight and had to make a stop in Phoenix.
When I got to Oakland I called a few friends that surf Mavericks and they told me that it was on.
The swell was filling in with a 19 second period and the wind was good. They both told me that it wasn’t going to be a big afternoon, but a pretty heavy one as they waves were going to come with much power and thickness. Suddenly all the tiredness disappeared and I got a rush of excitement and anxiety. I couldn’t wait to get to the beach.
My friend Steve picked me up at the airport and we went to his place to drop my luggage and get my new surfboard. I got an amazing FCD Mavs gun that I couldn’t wait to try for the first time. In record time we had a fast lunch, got the board ready with fins, leash strings and new wax and drove to Half Moon Bay. I was so tired at that point from surfing the day before and all the flying that I decided I needed to save energy and talk the least possible.
Imagine how hard that was for me! But breathing slow and trying to focus on my next session was what made the most sense at the moment.
We suited up in the parking lot and I felt the first snap of cold in my body. Funny thing was how long it takes me to get ready with the wetsuit, gloves, booties. We walked towards the ocean without checking the surf, as we had only one hour left before the sun would set. The air was crisp and clean and far away we saw the first set breaking from the distance.
I decided that I wanted to just paddle out and see how I felt once I was there.
I could feel I was operating on a 20% of my energy instead of that 90 or 100% that one would wish to have to surf a place like Mavericks. But as soon as I got to the lineup and saw the most beautiful glassy, clean, bowly waves breaking, all I could think was: I want one.
It was nice to see a few of my friends and many familiar faces in the crowd, it made it all more fun and gave me a sense of safety in a way.
I tried to find my spot in the lineup, and I was luck enough to get a beautiful wave that came to me. I actually dropped in on Ian, but I swear that it wasn’t on purpose. Once I was going I was going no matter what and I never even saw him coming after I was at the bottom of the wave.
I was happy it was him because he is one of my friends and I knew he wasn’t going to get mad at me. The drop was steep and fast and my board felt like knife cutting warm butter. It just felt right. Everything in life felt right at that moment. It was all just perfect. I went back to the lineup to try get one more before the dark came.
Next to me was Savannah, a Santa Cruz girl that charges Mavs. Suddenly the biggest set of the day approached us and everybody started to scratch to the horizon. In the corner of my eye I saw Savannah paddling like crazy to get into the wave. I couldn’t believe she was going to do that, she seemed pretty deep and late.
She got on her feet and dropped half way and then she ate it really bad. We were all worried for her, looking to see her pop out in one piece. She was lucky that there were no other big waves behind that one, because she would have got in serious trouble if there were. She made it back to the lineup with a big smile. That was an inspiration to me right there.
The sun was setting and I started feeling a little bit spooked about sharks. I just wanted to get back to the beach, even though the waves were really nice. I wished I had three more hours of light to keep surfing at that point.
The next day we went back to Mavs, hoping to find those waves or maybe bigger. The opposite happened: it was smaller and onshore. Not good at all.
I knew it wasn’t going to be the swell of swells that I was chasing. I just wanted to put some time in Mavericks on a manageable day. It wasn’t anything epic but for me it was still worth it to make the trip. One good wave makes it all worth it. Also being in the lineup, adjusting to the paddle in and out and the different tides, it was all good learning for me in order to start feeling more comfortable with the place in general.
Mavericks is such a challenge in all senses.
The cold freezing water, the rocks, the steep take off, the fog, the sharks that surround the area, it’s all a little spooky. But the wave is so beautiful that it’s impossible to not want to surf it. Hopefully I can go back there soon and give it a try with more time.
Wave Tibe Rider (versión español abajo) Mercedes Maidana twice finalist for the Billabong XXL Awards in the Women’s Overall Performance category!
Mercedes (Meti) comes from Buenos Aires, Argentina, about a 4 hour drive from the closest respectable wave. However, when she tried surfing at age 20, she realized that she was meant to be somewhere else. Ever since, she has traveled the world to test the best waves in the globe and eventually settled in the North Shore of Hawaii, looking for the best training grounds.
Once in Hawaii, she fell in love with big waves, and becoming a professional big wave rider became her dream.
Mercedes has since caught the attention of the world by surfing Sunset, Waimea, El Buey and Mavericks among others, and is presently in Puerto Escondido to further increase her repertoire.
Not only that, she belongs to the breed of surfers that feel our connection to the ocean and are aware of our responsibility to give back. That is why she fits so well with Wave Tribe and it’s values.
She will be also testing products for Patagonia this year.
This last April 23rd she was a finalist for the Billabong XXL Awards in the Women’s Overall Performance category for the second time in a row, and we know for certain this is not the last time the surfing celebrity world is hearing of her!
Meti we are extremely proud of you, keep pursuing your dream, we are stoked to be part of it!
To follow Meti’s dream chasing: http://mercedesmaidana.com/
Article by: Paul, Wave Tribe Nerd