January 6, 2012

Mavericks Invitational Opening Ceremony

Headed over to Half Moon Bay for the Mavericks Invitational Opening Ceremony.

It was such a beautiful drive down the coast! Sometimes I forget how lucky I am to live in and around such a beautiful place!

The ceremony was supposed to start at 2pm. But since film crews for "Of Men and Mavericks" which will be staring Gerard Butler were doing some B-roll and the surfers were out on the break so things didn't get started until a little later.

But a sunny day on the beach isn't a terrible place to have some time to kill. So I roamed around, looking to photograph sea shells or creatures, including the rare crustaceous sock ;-)

Since Mavericks was named after a dog of one of the surfers who first paddled out (but didn't dare try to catch a wave) in 1961, it's only suiting that a dog photobombed my picture of the Half Moon Bay Surf Team.

As the competition has been under a bit of drama, restructuring, ownership, sponsorship, etc the one constant is the surfers.

The cool thing about surfers, especially these big wave riders, though they are legends in the surfing community, they are otherwise low key guys and are all buddies.

For this year's opening ceremony, instead of just having the invited surfers paddle out, they invited the community to paddle out with them. Which also meant anyone could be at the beach. As women and strollers mingled among the surfers.

I could have paddled out with them and heard what goes on in this exclusive circle in the lagoon.

But thankfully there were GoPro cameras EVERYWHERE so hopefully that footage will pop up somewhere and we can experience what they experience.

Though I highly doubt any of them will allow the camera to be attached during the actual competition.

As the surfers all came back in, it was cool to see some of the surfers interact with the kids. Like my buddy Anthony Tashnick.

To be anecdotal, in 2009, a year the competition never actually went off, I was walking to the opening ceremony, about a mile from the closest place I could park. As I was walking down the trail to the beach, a truck pulled up next to me and the guy asked if I wanted a ride to the beach. Now NORMALLY I wouldn't take a ride from a stranger.

But his truck had a Mavericks sticker on it so I figured no one would otherwise be cruising around the area unless they were there for Mavericks, took up the offer and hopped in. En route to make small talk, I asked about his relation to Mavericks, he replied he was a part of Mavericks. Assuming he was some kind of PR guy I naiively asked what he did for Mavericks, and without any ego, he replied, "I'm one of the surfers"... turns out it was Anthony Tashnick, a Mavericks regular who won the competition in 2005. Boy did I feel like a dummy! Can bet that I knew his name after that!

But still, other reporters were approaching him (and all the other surfers) with their list of surfers, "which one are you?" so I guess it wasn't tooooo terrible that I didn't know who he was.

A number of invites weren't there since Jaws is breaking over in Hawaii. But there were some great surfers present for the ceremony.

Including 2010 winner Chris Bertish from South Africa.

The Brazilians

Carlos Burle

Danilo Couto

and Alex Martins.

Santa Cruz local Shane Desmond.

Ken "Skindog" Collins.

And surfing great, who has since retired but still out to show his support for Mavericks, Darryl "Flea" Virostko.

At opening ceremony, ran into my buddy, reporter for the San Jose Mercury News and author of the book "Surfing, Mastering Waves From Basic to Intermediate" Elliott Almond, who was interviewing a couple of the surfers.

He also took some photos of me at work.

photo by Elliott Almond

People may think my job is somehow glamourous and I'm really cool. But truth be told I have a variety of cameras and lenses hanging off me, a press kit file folder I wasn't anticipating receiving but didn't want to miss out on tucked into my waist, crouched down to get the angle I want, jeans rolled up to avoid getting too wet as my feet get wet at the edge of the water. I don't look glamorous or cool!

photo by Elliott Almond

But truth be told, I love what I do =)

photo by Elliott Almond

Thanks Elliott for sending these over!

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