HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KGO) -- We knew the waves were going to be big, but even the locals in Half Moon Bay were surprised by just how massive the swells were at world-famous Mavericks Beach.
The message from officials all week long was to stay away due to dangerous conditions brought on by the big waves. But people from around the world still flocked to the coast to enjoy nature's show.
"The waves looked absolutely massive and it was everything that we expected," Miguel Blanco said. "It was really big, I'd say 40-60 foot waves."
Blanco flew into town all the way from Portugal to surf the historic waves of Mavericks.
It was difficult to see from the shoreline, but incredible footage shot in the water shows what conditions their brave surfers are facing.
"If it's your turn, you just gotta go," Blanco said. "When you see a big wave, you're kinda scared but at the same time you're feeling like you should go and you just go and enjoy the ride."
For local Ion Banner, he wished he didn't have to share incredible waves like these with everyone else. But he recognizes the legacy of Mavericks spans the small surf town of Princeton in Half Moon Bay.
"It's pretty gnarly, it's super big. I mean, there's people from all over," Banner said. "Portugal, Brazil, Tahiti, Hawaii, you've got Kai Lenny and his brother out there. Yeah, a lot of amazing surfing going down."
HBO was on hand creating a documentary of the day's events. But a look through the sailboat sails and ocean mist shows crowds of spectators here to catch the action as well.
"We're seeing some huge swells, big waves and some surfers that are crazy going out there," Marin County Resident Lisa Solway said.
It was crazy enough to just watch the surfing, but hundreds took the two-mile walk to the coastline from the town to line up and down the steep cliffs of the beach.
San Mateo County officials did what they could to suggest people stay away, but these waves brought them to the Bay Area from far and wide.
"It's amazing," Solway said. "We're pretty lucky here. It's a pretty special place we live in."
"It certainly is," Connecticut Killeen Solway said. "I mean, it might become a yearly event for the Salways."
And when you see the waves yourself, the question isn't why, it's why not?
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