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Transcript of Mavericks 2015
gOINg BIgQ&A with MATT AMBROSE
24 CONTESTANTSSuRFINg ON A guN
WHY DOES MAVERICKS BREAK?SCENES FROM THE PAST
WHERE TO WATCH
ION JANuARY 2015PuBLISHED BY THE HALF MOON BAY REVIEW
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MAVERICKS 2015 HALF MOON BAY REVIEW
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24the24the24CARLOS BuRLE In the early stages of last years European season, Bur-le staged one of the most heroic performances in the history of big-wave surfing. The 46-year-old Brazilian ar-rived at Nazare, a small fish-ing village on the coast of Portugal, home to a near-mythical wave where a num-ber of surfers (notably Gar-rett McNamara) have been towed into waves of incon-ceivable height. videos con-firm that Burle caught a wave legitimately approach-ing 100 feet that day. He not only lived to tell about it, he saved the life of his tow-ing partner, Maya Gabeira, his longtime friend from Bra-zil and one of the top female big-wave riders in the world. Gabeira was knocked uncon-cious during that session and was on the verge of drown-ing when Burle arrived with a rescue sled and drove her to safety. She was float-ing face down in the biggest shorebreak youve ever seen in your life, he recalled. I dont think Ive ever been so scared. I dont know how, but we made it to the beach. A man could enter the his-tory books on the basis of those few hours, but Burle has been among the best for years, winning the 2009-10 Big Wave World Tour, making a name for himself at Jaws (Peahi, on Maui), reaching the finals of the storied 2010 Mavericks contest and con-sistently being recognized in the Billabong XXL awards nominations.
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RYAN SEELBACH Big-wave surfing separates itself from other sports in many ways, not the least of which is age. This contest is full of over-40 types still in their prime, and the 45-year-old Seelbach is a shining ex-ample. Hes just an animal out there, said Matt Am-brose. Put him in a contest and hell take off on anything, just like the superstars. Hes a local guy (San Francisco), always out there catching the best waves, and I think hes very underrated. Hes due. Seelbach managed to advance out of his first heat in the 2005 contest despite having to retrieve his lost board from the distant la-goon. He missed much of the 06 winter after breaking his foot during a tow-in session, but he has become a contest mainstay, reaching the semi-finals in 2008, 2010 and last year. I think the only thing holding him back is that he makes it look so easy, said Steve Dwyer. Hes got oars for arms, and hes so tall that he makes the wave look smaller than it really is. But hes got a bit of the base-jumper in him. Hell go right off the cliff. One of the maga-zines had a two-page spread of a drop he took in the 2010 contest, that huge day, and to me thats one of the top 10 drops ever made out there. Why does Seelbach keep coming back for more? You cant match the kind of adrenalin you get from surf-ing out there, he says. You find time to go back. You make time. Its the best surf-ing ever.
gREg LONg Ive been there and back is a common phrase in all walks of life, but few can de-liver it with Longs sincerity. The surfing world holds the deepest respect for a man who survived the early stag-es of death. On December 21, 2012, Long was part of an expedition to Cortes Bank, the horrifying and seldom-ridden spot some 100 miles off the coast of San Diego. Just before dark, he was held underwater for three waves after he took a wipeout, got slammed in the chest by his board and discovered that his safety vest would not in-flate. Frank Quirarte, part of the jet-ski rescue team, said Long was found face down and unresponsive, certain to die without help, and after several minutes of recovery aboard a boat, he was air-lifted by helicopter to a San Diego hospital. Thats about as heavy as it gets, but af-ter weeks of reflection, Long realized that his love of big-wave surfing was still intact. He finished third in the 2013 Mavericks contest and 5th last year, adding to a long list of accomplishments. He won the 2008 Mavericks event, memorably sharing his win-nings with the other five surf-ers from the final. In Decem-ber of 2009, he became the first Californian to win the prestigious Eddie Aikau con-test, held in all-time condi-tions at Waimea Bay. He has won Billabong awards for Biggest Wave (Dungeons, South Africa, 2006), Big-gest Paddle-In (Todos San-tos, 2008), Best Overall Per-formance (2007-08 winter) and Ride of the Year (Dun-geons, 2009). I may be bi-ased, because we travel to-gether, said Twiggy Baker, but if you can show me any-one with a higher big-wave count over the past few years, Ill eat my words. Not bad for someone who almost didnt get back.
ANTHONY TASHNICK Hes a veritable youngster in this contest at 30, but it seems like hes been around forever. Back in 2005, he snapped Flea virostkos three-contest winning streak with a title at Mavericks a real source of pride for Tash-nick, like virostko a prod-uct of Santa Cruz notorious west side. When the Chasing Mavericks film crew need-ed a stunt double, some-one who would take off on huge waves or take inten-tional wipeouts for the sake of a good shot, they made certain to include Tazzy. Well-traveled in his thirst for big waves, he has made the alternate list of the presti-gious Eddie Aikau contest six straight years. He finished third and won the Gnarliest Drop award at the 2010 Mav-ericks contest quite a dis-tinction, considering the his-toric size and made the finals last year. Hes has so much fun out there, just cra-zy, like a puppy, said Grant Washburn. Hes just all over the place, always catching a lot of waves. Guys like Greg (Long) and Twiggy are pretty careful out there. Tazzy goes for everything, because he just cant help himself. And he can do it all day long. Just a power machine.
JAMIE STERLINg From the time he was a lit-tle kid, growing up on Oa-hus North Shore, Sterling has been a madman, one of those people destined to challenge big surf. Hes a fix-ture on the Eddie Aikau con-test list and one of the few Hawaiians to regularly leave home to test foreign waters and punishing conditions. Bouncing back from a dis-located shoulder that side-lined him for several months, Sterling won the 2010-11 Big Wave World Tour on the strength of three solid per-formances: fourth place at Punta de Lobos, Chile, win-ning the Pico Alto (Peru) contest, then finishing third at Oregons Nelscott Reef. In the 2006 Billabong XXL awards, he was honored for Best Overall Performance. He finished an impressive third in the 2008 Mavericks contest, after dominating his first two heats, and he won the Jay Moriarity Award that day for the spirit best exem-plifying the late, great Santa Cruz surfer. Back home in Hawaii, Sterling is the type of surfer who paddles out to distance reefs in maxed-out conditions, out of sight, sur-rounded by chaos, complete-ly in his element.
ALEx MARTINS The comeback is nearly com-plete. Three days before last years contest, Martins took one of the worst Mavericks wipeouts in memory, going down hard before he could pull a bottom turn and suffer-ing multiple injuries, includ-ing a torn ACL in his knee. He came up dazed and dis-oriented, and then another wave drilled him. Maybe this is how those guys died, he remembered thinking as he struggled to reach the sur-face. After a long and dili-gent rehabilitation, Martins is back in the water. Hes been training like crazy with (physi-cal therapist and big-wave surfer) Lance Harriman, and hes really fit right now, said Grant Washburn. Hes been out there as often as any-one. Im sure the confidence is coming back, and hell be ready when the time comes. Originally from Brazil, Martins moved to Northern Califor-nia and established residence near Ocean Beach so he could surf that punishing San Francisco beachbreak with regularity. But that was just the start. Graduating to the Mavericks lineup, Martins be-came one of the most dedi-cated, respected surfers in the lineup. He had three sep-arate photographs nominated for the 2009 Billabong Mon-ster Paddle award, all from a November session at Mav-ericks. And he drew a simi-lar nomination in 2010 for a wave at the Mavericks con-test, where he reached the semifinals. Two years ago, drawing a bit closer to his goal, he surfed his way into the final and finished fourth.
THE TITAN SELECTIONA committee of 5 members, known as the C5, deliber-ated before the contest window opened to determine the contestants and alternates. The 5 members consist of Jeff Clark, Darryl Flea virostko, Matt Ambrose, Shawn Rhodes and Ion Banner. Two competitor slots were inten-tionally left open to be filled with wild card entries based on recent surfing performance at Mavericks.Jamie Mitchell earned the first wild card spot. The second has yet to be awarded.
There are 24 contestan