It’s been really bad weather in England for the past few weeks - alternately freezing cold or pouring with rain - and some of us may be forgiven for eschewing our own surfing pursuits in favour of keeping up with surfing news from around the world, writes Emily Waterman. And just recently we had, among other things, one of surfing's killer events: the international Mavericks Invitational competition, held annually in California.
Mavericks Invitational surf contest isn’t for the faint-hearted; it takes a lot of skill and nerve to ride the swells which travel for five days before hitting the shore and it’s no wonder that the competition attracts some of the best big wave surfers in the world. This year’s contest was the first held since the waves of 2010, which injured spectators; huge swells at Mavericks have also resulted in the deaths of two surfers since 1994. Safety for the 2013 Mavericks Invitational surf contest was given a considerable boost as spectators were banned from the beach and a festival area was set up in a nearby parking lot for people to safely watch the competition via a live feed.
Peter Mel Rides to Victory in 2013
The Mavericks Invitational surf contest is no small wave jamboree. It’s a requirement of the competition that the swells reach between 20 and 30 feet. Surfers must navigate vertical drops and takeoffs which are so steep that the surfers’ boards often leave the wave face, forcing them to land near the bottom and turn almost instantaneously.
This year’s winner was long-time Mavericks' legend Peter Mel, who’s been riding the waves at the Mavericks Invitational for 25 years. This year marked his first win and, as a traditional gesture of goodwill, Mel split the $50,000 prize with the five other placeholders. Mel’s been a favourite to win for years so his victory in 2013 has been well received. Check out the footage below to see him making it look easy.