Sandy's waves

Did anybody surf Sandy?

The horrendous hurricane which ripped through the East Coast of America and affected people far inland – isn’t it amazing to think that 60 million people were affected … almost the same amount of people who live in the whole of Europe or England… the mind boggles – however, that’s beside the point… my one-tracked mind did wonder if anyone had surfed any of the waves created by Sandy….

And of course, there were  and they did…

Hundreds of miles away from the epi-centre, Chicago and Lake Michigan were affected by Sandy’s outer bands “sending a community of avid surfers in Chicago into the cold, churning waters despite warnings from city officials“, reported Huff Post, Chicago this morning. 20 ft waves were being recorded, short of the 23-ft set the previous, but mega waves for the resident surfers in the area.

600 miles away from the East coast and Sandy’s fury, the storm’s winds could still be felt, blasting across Lake Michigan at 54 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

“Most people wouldn’t even come to the beach today, right?” said Jim Hoop, 50, who was among four surfers at a Chicago beach. “Good day to stay home. … but these are the days we look forward toThese rare occurrences are hard to resist, said Hoop, “those few moments … seem like forever. You’re going down that wave.” 

Surfing the remnants of Hurricane Sandy in Chicago

Despite their best efforts the surfers were invariably blown off their boards by the 60mph winds!

Across the lake in Michigan itself the winds were gusting up to 64 mph sending 2-story-tall waves crashing onto the shoreline. The thrill of the big surf attracted Cameron Mammina, manager of a surf shop, to the waterfront at St. Joseph, where he took his board out among the churning waves Tuesday. “It’s pretty intimidating at times,” he said. “Any time you get hit by a big wall of water, you have to catch your breath.” 

Intimidating maybe… but irresistible…

However, onto a more serious note and a more reliable wave – well, reliable… not necessarily. but a fabulous wave when in form. I’m talking of course of Mavericks. Not affected by Hurricane Sandy, but a wave who’s season is about to begin… The opening of the Maverick Season will be the 9th November and it will run through to the 31st March, 2013.

To celebrate the opening of the new season, the traditional Opening Ceremony and Paddle Out is scheduled for Friday, November 9.  The Opening Ceremony is a ritual unlike any other, bringing the athletes, surfers and fans to the beach to commemorate the opening of the big wave season.  In the long-honored Hawaiian tradition, surfers then paddle out to the water and form a prayer circle to commemorate the event, show respect to fellow surfers and their safety, and pay tribute to those who have died.

This is the premiere event of the big wave surfing schedule and is now part of the Big Wave World Tour. The association with BWWT allows those surfers who are part of the tour to use their performance at Mavericks as part of their overall scoring for the season.  The contest is a one-day, invitation-only surfing competition is held at the legendary Mavericks surf break located ½ mile offshore at Pillar Point Harbor, just 20 minutes south of San Francisco. The 24 best big-wave surfers in the world attempt to tame the massive swells on the biggest and best day of the 2012 winter season.

And GoPro are the new sponsors. The perfect twinning.

“GoPro is a great fit,” said contest director and Maverick pioneer Jeff Clark. “GoPro started right here in Half Moon Bay by surfers and for surfers. We’ve watched them grow over the years through their unique ability to connect the public with action sports. We’re really excited to work together.”

Started in Half Moon Bay, GoPro makes the world’s most versatile cameras, enabling people to capture immersive and engaging footage of themselves during their favorite activities. GoPro’s HERO line of wearable and gear mountable cameras are used collectively by more consumers, professional athletes, and video production professionals than any other camera in the world. Based in San Mateo, California, GoPro’s products are available in stores in more than 100 countries, worldwide, and direct via GoPro.com.

“We are stoked to be part of Mavericks Invitational as it recognizes the world’s top big-wave surfers charging one of the most famous big waves on the planet,” said Paul Crandell, vice president of marketing for GoPro. “GoPro was created close to Mavericks. In fact, the harbor near Mavericks is where our founder Nick Woodman would do camera and water housing tests. So, the event also means a lot to us because these are our friends and neighbors who are behind this event. And with the GoPro camera onboard, we’re looking forward to providing people around the world with a unique perspective and idea of what it is like to drop in and ride at Mavericks.”

So when the wave reaches its optimum height, and the world’s 24-best big wave surfers tackle it, the videos are going to be well worth watching and you can see from the following video what I mean by when the wave reaches its optimum height… and this was in the days before GoPro…  just think of the videos we are going to see when Mavericks is surfed now!

To give you an idea of what the Maverick challenge entails

 

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