El Niño Brings 50-foot Monster Waves to Northern California

A surfer takes off on a large wave at Maverick's in Half Moon Bay, CA Wednesday, January 7, 2016. (PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Short, Special To The Chronicle)
A surfer takes off on a large wave at Maverick’s in Half Moon Bay, CA Wednesday, January 7, 2016. (PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Short, Special To The Chronicle)

Monster waves the size of a six-story building broke at the famed surf spot, Mavericks along the San Mateo County coast of Northern California Thursday, drawing professional big wave surfers from around the world, but conditions were too chaotic for Titans of Mavericks to hold the annual competition.

The man who first surfed Mavericks, Jeff Clark told KTVU that many waves were 40-feet off the Pillar Point Harbor, but several more topped 50 feet, and even higher. Waves easily can top 60 feet at the break, and pound the underwater reef with such force they can be recorded by seismographs.

One of the 24 invited Titans of Mavericks surfers, Garrett McNamara, took a nasty wipeout on a towering wave and was rushed into emergency surgery Thursday night for his arm and shoulder. Reports were that he had a dislocated shoulder, and later the contest organizers reported he needed surgery on his arm and shoulder.

The surf contest known colloquially as Mavericks could still be held this season, depending on conditions. In 2015, perfect conditions never formed, and the competition had to take a year off.

The window for the contest closes on March 31st, 2016.

The photo gallery above shows some of Thursday’s waves followed by photos of waves from the most recent Mavericks competition, in winter of 2014.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Chron, Brandon Mercer