Mavericks Surf Awards: A Day in the World’s Most Dangerous Waterpark

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December saw the opening day of the much anticipated sleeping giant.  As most official sporting events have been cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions on travel, it was important to awaken to the morning of December 8th, 2020 and know the Mavericks Surf Awards were on ‘Go’ status.

Mavericks Surf Awards
The Mavericks Surf Awards had its opening day on December 8th as a massive Pacific swell rolled into the legendary cove at Half Moon Bay. Men & women in the lineup were ready to celebrate this legendary wave. Photo: Ryan Chachi Craig

Mavericks Surf Awards:  Virtual Format

The Mavericks Surf Awards , launched by Jeff Clark and Chris Cuvelier is a big wave surfing event filling the space left open after the WSL dropped Mavericks from its Big Wave Tour. In a non-traditional format, the Mavericks Surf Awards doesn’t run on a specific day as in traditional surf contests. Instead, the MSA event spans the full range of the big wave season – this year, from December 1st, 2020 through April 15th, 2021. Surfers and videographers have a 6-month time frame to submit their best entries of surf video performances. Winners – including both surfers and their videographers – receive cash purses across five categories.

Jeff Clark Jay Headley Mavericks Surf Awards 2020
The man who made Mavericks his own, Jeff Clark, reported LIVE from the channel on December 8th, giving viewers a first hand look at what those giant waves look like up close. Photo: Jay Headley

Significant cash prizes will be be divided across five categories with 80% of the prize going to the surfer and 20% to the videographer.
1.  Male Performance of the Year
2.  Female Performance of the Year (with equal prize money)
3.  Mavericks Ride of the Year
4.  Biggest Wave
5.  Best Barrel

Mavericks Surf Awards under the lip

All the big names of big wave surfing came together with the world’s best photographers for opening day at Mavericks. Here, @huntray284 is getting it done under the lip. Photo by: @fred_pompermayer

Opening Day at Mav’s:  Big Names & Huge Surf

On December 8th, virtual audiences watched the action out in the lineup as Jeff Clark broadcast live from the channel throughout the day. This live experience gave viewers from around the world the chance to witness the powerful swell and cast of characters from the biggest names in surf up close on Mavericks Surf Awards’ Instagram and Facebook pages. It was quite an education.

Jeff Clark narrated these live broadcasts and even answered questions from viewers, all  while navigating tricky currents and dodging white water at one of the most notorious big wave breaks on the planet. The thunder of crashing waves sounded like gunshots going off and the excitement in the channel was palpable. Everyone was on board to make opening day of the Mavericks Surf Awards a successful event as the world’s greatest big wave surfers and photographers came together to capture Mav’s massive swell.

Stand outs from the day included Twiggy Baker, Peter Mel and Kai Lenny.  Ian Walsh also was on hand to catch a few solid swells as well. Local heavy hitters showed Matt Becker, Luca Padua, and John Mel (Peter’s son) dominating the lineup. Bianca Valenti gave a great showing for the females and caught excellent waves as well.

Mavericks Surf Awards Kai Lenny vanishing act
Kai Lenny pulls a disappearing act in front of a monster chasing him down at Mavericks. Kai spent a total of 16 hours in the water on December 8th, proving once again, he is super human.  Photo: @toddtphoto

More To Come:  Stay Tuned for the Next Big Swell

The ocean will provide. More surf is expected and the energy is high surrounding this newly formatted event which includes bragging rights to facing off against one of the most fierce waves on the planet. Clark and Cuvelier anticipate an excellent season as entries begin to roll in.

To participate surfers and videographers upload their entries at:
where they are then evaluated and scored by a team of judges.

The awards ceremony for this year’s Mavericks Surf Awards will take place at the end of the season in April or May 2021 in a small gathering. The staff is planning a digital ceremony to broadcast throughout the world this ultimate celebration of the brave men and women who surf Mavericks.

Stay tuned.

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Evelyn O'Doherty, editor & publisher of the new Standup Journal 2.0 is a former school teacher gone rogue. She left her career as a teacher in order to spend more time near or on the water after learning to surf turned her life around (upsidedown?). She is a year-round surfer and paddler living on the eastern tip of Long Island in NY who is a certified SUP instructor, seasoned SUP racer and avid longboard surfer. Evelyn was hired as Online Editor to Standup Journal in 2016. Her passion for the project quickly led to her success and eventually taking over the mag herself in Oct. 2018. Today, as editor, publisher and chief bottle washer at Standup Journal, Evelyn keeps her toes wet writing, traveling, paddling, surfing, and learning to foil. You can find her most days paddling out on Gardiner's Bay or surfing Ditch Plains in Montauk, NY.