For somebody who started the day off questioning whether or not the 2012 Mavericks Invitational should have run or not, due to less than epic conditions, Peter Mel's day sure ended on a bright note.
The Mavericks title has eluded Mel since the inception of the first Quiksilver event back in 1999. "The Eddie has always been the ultimate prize for big wave surfers", said Mel In his post contest interview. "But for me, personally, winning Mavericks has always been closest to my heart."
An unprecedented six days prior, Jeff Clark and a panel of four other surfers and forecasters had made the call to run the event on Sunday. As the contest drew closer conditions began to deteriorate and some had questioned the decision.
Due to the logistical nightmare having to cancel an event of this magnitude the decision was made to run the event, waves or not. At first light the sets came in clean, but not huge. The day was filled with long lulls and smaller sets. But if big wave height was measured in good vibes it may as well have been a hundred feet. A regatta of at least fifty boats sitting in the channel, in all shapes and sizes were filled with frothing big wave fans.
The weather was a beautiful 75 degrees, wind offshore most of the day and set waves close to 30- to 35-foot faces. Hoots and hollers accompanied every barrel, wipeout and successful ride. Frequent 49ers play-off game updates throughout the day also helped keep the mood upbeat and festive.
When it was time to run the finals the tide filled in fast and what was left of the swell rapidly dissapeared along with it. Before the final actually started the six finalists, Alex Martins, Zach Wormhoudt, Greg Long, Mark Healy, Shawn Dollar and Peter Mel all decided in light of the conditions they would share in the prize purse equally -- a true testament of the brotherhood of big wave surfing.
From Mark Healy's left-hand barrels, and Greg Long's return to competition after his near death experience, the day was filled with some great rides and spectacular wipeouts. And with the addition of the new viewing festival, the lack of waves was eclipsed by the gorgeous winter afternoon.
Mavericks Final Results
1. Pete Mel
2. Alex Martin
3. Zach Wormhoudt
4. Greg Long
5. Shawn Dollar
6. Mark Healy