There was no sign of Mark "Cutback" Davis or Bob "Jungle Death" Gerard in the waves off Pillar Point on Saturday, but 24 of the world's ballsiest surfers were there to test their mettle against the huge, angry swell that is the Mavericks break. When the foam cleared and the judges' scorecards were tallied, it was 24-year-old Greg Long from San Clemente, SoCal that ended up taking home the title of Mavericks Big Wave champion for 2008.
Missing in action last year because of unfavorable conditions, the Mavericks Big Wave Surf Contest went off Saturday without a hitch. The "Super of Bowl of Surfing," Mavericks is a unique event in that there is no set date for the event -- it is totally dependent on the whims of Mother Nature. Each year between January (now December) and March, a small clutch of the world's premier big wave surfers sit nervously by the phone waiting to be notified that the contest is on. Once promoters announce the contest, invited surfers and alternates have only 24 hours to get to tiny Princeton-by-the-Sea, California for the big event.