FIFTEEN foot at 15 seconds is the underside of the bubble, the magic number combination in big wave surfing which gets an event going. But not this day. One of the largest (and certainly the glassiest) days at Mavericks this season was about to dance to an alternative beat.
On the morning of Wednesday, February 8th there was under the cover of dark a greater stirring than normal for a big wave session. Peli cases were being loaded into boats in the wan early light for another day of filming Of Men and Mavericks, the life story of Jay Moriarity. Who for the uninitiated made the cover of Surfer at the age of 16 with a jaw-dropping Mavs wipeout and led a startlingly precocious existence before his untimely death freediving in the Maldives.
The North Pacific may not have delivered any records this year abut after a slow start it's rumbled along pretty steadily, delivering a series of XL swells to the West Coast of the States and the Hawaiian islands. A lot of these Mavericks swells have served a duel purpose, both as a canvas for your usual suspects to thread their coconut sized balls along the tightrope of success and ultimate failure, but also to partake in some aspect of the filming process of a major Hollywood feature.
"Most of the Mavericks crew are involved in the process one way or another and a lot of the Santa Cruz crew" Said Frank Quirarte, a gent running rescue and support at Mavericks, and stunt boat driver at Steamer Lane for the biopic.
"The movie has been an awesome stimulus for the entire coast from Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz. Both directly and indirectly." If you're envisioning queasy Tinseltown types bobbing around on the high seas and whimpering under the looming seas you'd be wrong.
"Most of them are experienced watermen and have experience at Mavericks." Says Frank "Brock Little is the stunt co-ordinator and Grant Washburn is the film consultant."
© Frank Quirarte