As a surfer, you always want to be where the waves are hitting best. Whether that’s right on your doorstep, or halfway across the world.
And if you’re after big waves and don’t mind cold waters, then you might want to visit Mavericks Surf Spot, a California break known for some massive and dangerous waves.
Mavericks Surf Spot is a secluded, partly hidden area in California.
Known for combining icy temperatures, sharks, and large, perfect waves, Mavericks attracts surfers who are seeking something special.
Mavericks Surf Spot isn’t for everyone, and only surfers with skill and knowledge should consider giving it a go.
And that’s if they can find it! Thanks to the difficulty of the waves, this spot is notoriously well hidden, with many surfers driving right on past.
But if you think you’ve got what it takes, then read this guide on how to get to Mavericks Surf Spot.
Where Is Mavericks Surf Spot?
Mavericks Surf Spot can be found in Northern California, just along the coast from Half Moon Bay.
It’s by a town known as Princeton-By-The-Sea, and around the corner from Pillar Point harbor.
Despite being such a popular spot, Mavericks isn’t sign-posted. So, you either need to know where you’re going, or find a local that doesn’t mind helping you out.
Mavericks is something of a local secret, although it’s less of a secret now that it’s been the focus of several surf documentaries, and the base of a major surf competition.
When the waves are hitting right, expect to see some crowds.
How To Get To Mavericks Surf Spot
If you want to find Mavericks Surf Spot, you either need to ask for help or hope to be very lucky and stumble across it.
Residents of nearby Half Moon Bay spend much of the busy winter season pointing tourists in the direction of the waves.
Visitors looking for Mavericks should start off at Princeton-By-The-Sea. From here, you need to find your way to Pillar Point Harbor, an active fishing harbor.
Look for Mavericks Surf Shop, or see if you can get someone to point it out. The locals are used to showing people around and are likely to help you out if you ask nicely.
Once you get to Mavericks Surf Shop, you need to ask an employee if they can show you the way.
They’ll hand you a slip of paper, showing you the directions to the waves.
On your way over, keep watch for the Point. The Point is various bluffs to the northwest of the harbor.
The easiest way to orientate yourself is by the radar station, affectionately known as the Golf Ball.
You can’t drive up to the bluff, as the parking lot is reserved for Vandenberg AFC employees.
Parking can be found at Pillar Point beach, by West Point In Princeton, although you’ll want to get there early.
Once parked, follow the dirt trail to the bluffs for about half a mile to the beach.
Make sure to pay attention to where you’re going if you plan on making a return visit.
If you squint, you can just about see the surfers from here. The waves are about another half-mile out.
Bring some binoculars and study the waves before making your way over. Be careful when paddling out, and don’t turn your back to the waves.
When To Visit Mavericks Surf Spot
As mentioned above, Mavericks Surf Spot is not suitable for beginners. If you’re new to surfing, you’d do better elsewhere.
However, if you have experience and are prepared for some cold water, then
Mavericks is worth checking out. The best time to go is winter, when the swells are at their biggest and best.
Between November and March, the winter swells of California are created by the waters pushing in from the north.
This causes the waves to crash over the reef surrounding Mavericks, creating those epic breaks.
When the waves are really coming in, the beach itself can disappear entirely. Visit in January for the biggest of the big waves.
If you are new to surfing but still want to check out Mavericks Surf Spot, visit in spring or summer.
The waves are much more peaceful, and swimmers and boogie boarders like to explore.
Where Is Mavericks’ Outer Bowl?
The favorite peak at Mavericks Surf Spot has to be the Outer Bowl.
Found at the north end of the break, around 100 yards out from main Mavericks, the Outer Bowl can hit over 20 feet at 20 seconds.
It doesn’t always happen, but if you’re lucky enough to catch the Outer Bowl, you’ll never forget it.
Other waves to look out for are The Corner, the Lates Bowl, and The Cauldron.
Is It Safe To Surf At Mavericks Surf Spot?
Mavericks is a busy surf spot, but most people are there to watch, rather than take part.
These waves are for experts only, but if you do have an advanced skill level, they’re basically perfect.
Clean waters with huge peaks, Mavericks is a thrilling, exhausting, and unforgettable ride for experienced surfers.
If you lack experience, then you should avoid Mavericks. Watch from the beach for a minute, and you’ll see just how intimidating the waves are.
They move fast, and the reefs and boulders that make the breaks so great also provide some painful landing points for unlucky surfers.
For the big waves, you have to visit in winter, and cold waters make for an even trickier surf.
Also, Mavericks Surf Spot is home to more than a few sharks. Attacks are rare, but not unheard of.
Mavericks is one of the most popular surf spots in California, despite the fact that very few maps or signs to the area exist.
With its massive waves, incredible scenery, and challenging conditions, it’s no wonder the somewhat hidden area still manages to attract plenty of visitors.
Riding the waves at Mavericks Surf Spot is best left to the professionals, or those with plenty of skill and experience, but everyone else should enjoy the chance to watch the best in action.