Mavericks is a surfing location in northern California outside Pillar Point Harbor, just north of the town of Half Moon Bay at the village of Princeton-by-the-Sea. After a strong winter storm in the northern Pacific Ocean, waves can routinely crest at over 8 m (25 ft) and top out at over 18 m (60 ft). Routinely, waves that break can be recorded on seismometers. The break is caused by an unusually shaped underwater rock formation.
Mavericks is a winter destination for some of the world’s best big wave surfers. From 1999 to 2016, an invitation-only contest was held there most winters, when the waves are sufficient. In early March 1967, Alex Matienzo, Jim Thompson, and Dick Notmeyer surfed the distant waves of Pillar Point. With them was Matienzo’s roommate’s white-haired German Shepherd, Maverick, who was accustomed to swimming with his owner and Matienzo while they were surfing. The three surfers left Maverick on shore, but he swam out to them. Finding the conditions unsafe for the dog, Matienzo tied him up before rejoining the others. The riders had limited success that day as they surfed overhead peaks about 400 m (1⁄4 mi) from shore, just along the rocks that are visible from shore; they deemed the bigger outside waves too dangerous. The surfers named the location after Maverick, who seemed to have gotten the most pleasure from the experience. Here is a video taking the iconic spot to the next level.