Northern Californian Nic Lamb won the prestigious big-wave surfing contest known as the Titans of Mavericks Friday.
Lamb, 27, outlasted 23 competitors and a big wipeout to capture the 10th championship with a $120,000 purse at the legendary Mavericks surf break at Half Moon Bay, about 20 miles south of San Francisco.
“I’m over the moon,” Lamb said after climbing aboard a chase boat following the competition on the water. Lamb is from nearby Santa Cruz, which is about 60 miles south of Half Moon Bay, and surfed Mavericks growing up. He now lives in Venice Beach in Los Angeles.
The waves weren’t as big as past competitions, but grew steadily from 15 feet to 30 feet throughout the afternoon. Several surfers suffered spectacular wipeouts, including one of the pre-contest favorites Ken “Skindog” Collins.
Collins, also of Santa Cruz, suffered a punctured ear drum and was forced to withdraw from the competition after a bad spill in the pounding surf.
The surf then petered out during the finals and the six remaining surfers had few large waves to ride at the end.
Travis Payne of Pacifica, California, finished second and Greg Long of Santa Cruz finished third.
Long also won the $10,000 “boldest drop” award for the most spectacular ride of the day. Long won the event in 2009.
James Mitchell won $5,000 for the day’s best ride in the “barrel.”
The surfing event is a one-day, invitation-only competition held almost every year when conditions are deemed just right between Nov. 1 and March 31.
The event has been canceled four times — including last year — since 1999 because of lack of waves. The contest was last held in January 2014.
Surfers received the call Tuesday, when many had gathered in Hawaii to participate in another renowned surfing contest. “The Eddie,” as it’s called, was cancelled hours before it was supposed to take place because of undersized breakers.
The swells travel through deep water for days before hitting a section of shallow reef that juts into the sea. When the swell hits the reef, the wave jumps up and crashes back down violently, then washes through craggy rocks.
In 2010, the contest attracted more than 100,000 live fans while thousands more watched on big screens at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
The live crowd overwhelmed the beach. About a dozen people were injured after a wave knocked spectators into the water.
Spectators now have to watch online.
This season’s invitees are all male, but that could change.
The California Coastal Commission last year told organizers to have a plan to include women if they want a permit to hold the event next season.
Since Titans of Mavericks is only held in the biggest and best conditions, the contest was last held in 2014 in massive 35-foot surf, when South African Grant “Twiggy” Baker took the win over Hawaiian big-wave legend Shane Dorian. Other past champions include San Clemente, California’s Greg Long (2008) and Santa Cruz, California’s Anthony Tashnick (2005).
Fox Sports secures national TV rights to Titans of Mavericks
90-Minute Primetime Special Presents Acclaimed Surf Contest
Surf News Network, 13 February, 2016 – Los Angeles – Fox Sports has secured multi-year television rights to Titans of Mavericks. Fueled by a powerful El Nino weather pattern, the contest is expected to be held in death-defying surf this Friday and made into an exciting, 90-minute primetime television show targeted for late spring.
“This winter has already seen some of the biggest waves ridden around the world,” says Melissa Forman, FOX Sports SVP, Development, Original Programming. “We’re excited that the surfers will be ready to take on giant waves at Mavericks this week. It will be like no other sporting event ever presented on FOX Sports and we’re thrilled to be a part of the whole experience.”
“We’re delighted to have FOX Sports tentpole this fantastic franchise,” says Griffin Guess, Titans of Mavericks Principle. “Mavericks is one of the most thrilling action sports events on Earth and dominates the surf space. I look forward to FOX Sports bringing its excellence, edge and expertise to presenting the biggest waves in the world into U.S. homes. Viewers are going to love this.”
Titans of Mavericks is the globally recognized big-wave event and brand. With the event window running from November 1 until March 31, 24 of the world’s best surfers attempt to compete at the highest level of skill, risk and athleticism to stand out and effortlessly challenge these the massive swells on the biggest and best day of the winter season. They put it all on the line for a shot at victory and a piece of the six figure prize purse. These elite athletes risk death-defying drops and bone-crushing wipeouts in the ultimate quest of man-versus-nature.
The television production promises to provide viewers access to the event like never before. The production utilizes multi-camera highlights and the top-of-the-line super slow motion cameras, helicopters, drones, Cineflex units, in-water POVs, multi-vessel camera mounts, mounted athlete cameras and other advanced tools to capture the production at the highest level. In addition to the production, a fully art directed set presents play-by-play action and first-hand interviews during the explosive action. Special interest talent segments and other relevant features give light to the cultural significance that makes Mavericks unique.