2005 Mavs Champ Anthony Tashnick will get a wildcard to the event if it runs Tuesday. Photo by WSL / BRIANO
Swell Of The Season Set To Hit Hawaii, U.S. West Coast
Jaws is going to be huge, Mavs might run Tuesday—buckle up, baby!
There's no current waiting period for Jaws, but if there was, the contest organizers would be screaming Green Alert! GREEN ALERT!
That's because at this very moment, a massive low-pressure system is cruising across the Pacific at the angle of West-North-West. This is the biggest swell of the winter, by far, and it's forecast to pass Hawaii with just enough breathing room as to not disrupt the local wind patterns. Which is to say it'll be a gargantuan and relatively clean swell at Pea'hi.
As is tradition, big-wavers from around the globe have wrapped their ten-sixes in oversized coffins and boarded flights for the island of Maui. The swell is due to hit Saturday afternoon, peak early Sunday morning, and hold throughout the day, while the winds look relatively light (for Maui standards). On top of the talented local crew, we're looking forward to see what Laurie Towner will do on his maiden voyage.
While the majority of big-wave freesurfers will be scouting Jaws, the guys and gals on the WSL's Big Wave Tour will be headed to California (while some greedy bastards might try to do both!). That's because the Maverick's Challenge, a recent addition to the BWT's schedule, is on Yellow Alert for Tuesday. While Monday might offer slightly bigger surf, the local forecast is calling for a ghastly southern breeze, which is known to cut through the Mavs lineup like a serrated blade. On Tuesday the winds will return to their typical side-onshore northwest, which is a more manageable lump at California's mega-reef.
According to the WSL and Surfline, "Latest model guidance shows increased S wind on Monday. Confidence also slowly increasing that Tuesday will offer a larger and more consistent swell. Wind doesn't look perfect by any means, but looks manageable at this point with building NW flow 8-12kts over the afternoon (S wind possible early morning). Neither day look like slam dunks and both have risks/uncertainty, but Tuesday does look more promising at this point."
Here's who might be looking over the ledge and into the Mavs bowl come Tuesday:
WSL Big Wave Tour Top 10:
Grant Baker, Pedro Calado, Greg Long, Jamie Mitchell, Billy Kemper, Nic Lamb, Will Skudin, João De Macedo, Cristian Merello, Kai Lenny
Big Wave Award Performers:
Lucas Chianca, Francisco Porcella, Tom Lowe, Peter Mel
Local Mavericks Wildcards:
Travis Payne, Tyler Fox, Anthony Tashnick, Ben Andrews, Jason Stark, Pat Shaughnessy
Big Wave Tour Wildcards
Three surfers to be announced upon Green Light
Performer of the Year Alternates: Nathan Florence, Alex Botelho, Jojo Roper
Local Mavericks Alternates: Ben Wilkinson, Nathan Fletcher, Ryan Seelbach, Matt Becker, Colin Dwyer, Luca Padua.
And while we've seen contest at the fabled Northern California slab for the better part of two decades, this year's WSL event marks the first in which women will be surfing.
Here's the hardened females hanging with the boys, competing in a 6-woman invitational heat to decide the champion: Paige Alms, Bianca Valenti, Keala Kennelly, Justine Dupont, Sarah Gerhardt, and Emily Erickson.
For those of you who steer clear of 40-foot walls (squad!), California should offer a number of exciting options up and down the coast. Per usual my head is spinning at all the possibilities, but if history tells us anything, I'll probably end up checking five different spots and settling for some mediocre closeout. Maybe I'll slip out of one or two.
Either way this could be the biggest swell of the winter, so I'd recommend you call out of work, gas up the Tacoma, and load that bitch up with a full range of surfboards. You might score, you might not, but who can fault you for trying?*
*Wives, husbands, bosses, etc. excluded.