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Big wave surfer Jeff Rowley paddles into Mavericks left in California and becomes the first Australian to conquer this challenge.


Mavericks is California’s premier big wave surfing location and is traditionally considered a right hander, with it’s heavier and more unpredictable left hander virtually unwanted by surfers. Rowley has based himself in the USA for the North Pacific winter surf season and relocated from Hawaii to Northern California with bigger swells forecast for the remainder of the season. In freezing conditions, Rowley and a small crew of Mavericks regulars enjoyed a morning of light winds and uncrowded waves before an onshore wind came up.

Rowley was pushing the boundaries of what was possible at the Mavericks left hander, a task that wasn’t without it’s challenges.

The Left Hander at Mavericks is really heavy – the take off is a vertical free fall into an nasty slab barrel“, Rowley explains. “I wiped out on a monster wave and tumbled down, it drained all of my energy and I didn’t know which way was up. The water is so cold and the waves are so powerful, one mistake and the wave eats you for breakfast, and next thing you know, you’re washing in towards the rocks“.

In surfing Mavericks left hander, Rowley became the first Australian surfer to paddle into the deadly waves. During the session Rowley rode his 10’2” (3m) Al Merrick quad fin surfboard dubbed the “Magic Carpet”. Rowley, a regular stance surfer is required to ride Mavericks left hander with his back towards the wave.

The wave is crazy I’ve never had my 10’2″ surfboard free falling on the take off on my backhand like I did today. It was just me, a handful of great local surfers and a couple of seals, classic day” said Rowley.

Rowley remains in California to see out the end of the North Pacific winter surf season.

Photo: Minnie Vuong/Xvolution Media

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