Here is my story in the Bay Area News Group and San Jose Mercury News on the day at Mavericks where the big waves petered out somewhere between here and Japan. The hard chargers still got an echo effect for some waves with 25-foot faces. Contest director Jeff Clark told me it was a day of "recreational and performance" surfing. With warm weather and clear sky it was a day for fun instead of those death drops the guys often face.
I met San Jose Mercury News photographer Karl Mondon at the Mavericks Surf Shop at Princeton-by-the-Sea on Saturday morning to collect our press credentials for the Big Wave contest that takes place Sunday just as a perfect groundswell is hitting Northern California. Conditions are ideal: warm, still sky with a slight offshore wind that gives the wave's lips a feathery effect that helps hold up the shape. Sorry rest of the country. This is our usual Spring-in-January weather pattern. The bright yellow mustard greens are blooming in the fields along the coast.
We hoofed our way to the cliffs at Pillar Point to snap some photos and just enjoy the moment. Quite a few others had the same idea. I own only a Cannon SD800is Power Shot, a trusty point-and-shoot digital camera. But no the manly big-lens cameras of the pros. So here's what I got. (Karl took the portrait of me with my camera with Pillar Point in the background.)
The two lefts and the last photo show Mavericks awakening from its holiday slumber. The swell was just beginning to build this morning. The third photo looks north away from Mavs but highlights the beauty of our local beaches.
The tail end of a nice northwest swell lingered on a blue-sky day in Northern California. The high tide messed with the peaks at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz but second peak still got a few nice waves to ride, especially in the backdrop of such sun-kissed weather. Welcome 2013.
Photos: Elliott Almond, using Cannon Power Shot.