From Waimea to Mavericks in less than 48 hrs
Words by Morgan Williamson | Photos by Dave Nelson It’s pandemonium! Titans of Mavericks is a go for Friday, and the Eddie will run tomorrow. “Yep, it’s on,” Mark Healey tells Stab on the double green light. “So it looks like we’re going to the do the wild goose chase.” Mr Healey’s not alone in this sequence of […]
Words by Morgan Williamson | Photos by Dave Nelson
It’s pandemonium! Titans of Mavericks is a go for Friday, and the Eddie will run tomorrow. “Yep, it’s on,” Mark Healey tells Stab on the double green light. “So it looks like we’re going to the do the wild goose chase.” Mr Healey’s not alone in this sequence of big wave events, there’s a total of nine dragon slayers on the bill for both the Eddie and Titans: Shane Dorian, Mr Healey, Nathan Fletcher, Greg Long, Kohl Christensen, Jamie Mitchell, Dave Wassell, then Aaron Gold and Ian Walsh are the alternates for the Titans. They’ll have less than 48 hours after crowning the champion of the Eddie until the first heat at Mavs. As anyone would imagine, after wrangling 20 foot plus Waimea, they’ll be a little sore. It’s out of the warm water and into the cool California flush for the gents.
Jamie Mitchell’s hunting for the cavernous vision beneath the rainbow.
Mark’s not worried but the cat also wrangles sharks in his spare time. “The water’s not too bad over there,” he says. “I was out for the swell a few days ago, it’s like 55 (12.7 celsius) degrees, it could be a lot worse. These days wetsuits are so good, it doesn’t bother me as much. As long as it’s not the first swell of the season in cold water, it’s all good. I got acclimated last week.” Surely not all agree with Healey’s sentiment; booties, hoods and maybe gloves is enough to bog down (almost) any hellman, especially with hold downs of Mavs’ caliber.
“When I get caught inside in warm water it’s a brutal beating but I can usually paddle back out and surf normally,” Shane Dorian, who’ll be surfing both events told Stab on the subject. “But when I get beat down in a wetsuit and have to fight to get to the surface, it drains me to the point that I don’t want to surf anymore.”
The last two competitions at Mavs have been a bit small for Mark Healey’s liking. “The swell for the event looks very similar to the swell a few days back,” he says. “Hopefully this time around it’ll be bigger. It looks like it should be. Last Thursday, everyone was out charging. Pete Mel was surfing so good although he’s not in the Mavs event.” He is however surfing in heat three of the Eddie vs Mark and John John Florence, Clyde Aikau and Nate Fletcher. “Have you seen the heat draws for the Eddie?” Mark asks. “Every single heat is so stacked with the best big wave surfers in the world, really anyone could win it. I haven’t even seen the heat draws for Titans,” he laughs, “I’ve been so distracted with Waimea. The cool thing about the Eddie is people can come from behind. That’s what Greg (Long) did last time, he won it in one heat with the four waves he caught. I couldn’t make a prediction on who’ll win either of them. I’m hoping it’s myself… but we’ll see about that.”
Pete Mel outruns a Half Moon Bay avalanche.
“You ride pretty similar boards at Waimea and Mavericks,” Mark says on equipment choice. “They’re both real ledgy waves, you’re either under it or you’re not, so you want to ride a smaller board than you would at a place like Jaws. At Jaws there’s a big playing field out the back, and I’m not really a sit on the inside bowl guy.”
With both high profile big wave events within two days of each other, priorities have to lay somewhere. “The Eddie to me is the most prestigious event in the world, hands down,” says Mr Healey. “I’d rather win the Eddie than the Pipe Masters. There’s bigger, gnarlier waves than Waimea, but nowhere has the legacy that Waimea Bay has. It’s where big wave surfing was pioneered, the whole history’s there. There’s no other place in the world that compares. The Eddie has a different vibe than most competitions, it’s half an event, half a celebration. From the energy of the crowd through the valley and the buzz around the event, it’s all pretty crazy. There’s nothing else like it in surfing.”
Mark Healey’s one of the best ever in real juice. Here he glides into one on Hawaii’s outer reefs. Photo: WSL
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