100 scary seconds: What it's like to wipe out on a 50 foot wave at Mavericks in Half Moon Bay

ByBrandon Behle KGO logo
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
What it's like to wipe out on a 50 foot wave
EMBED <>More Videos

A surfer wiped out on a huge wave at Mavericks and then spent the next 100 terrifying seconds fighting for his life.

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KGO) -- One surfer got an up close and personal look at the power and danger of Mavericks Monday wiping out on five-story wave and then fighting for his life for 100 terrifying seconds.

The unknown surfer's struggle was captured on camera by ABC7 news photographer Dean Smith Monday afternoon at the infamous Half Moon Bay surf spot.

VIDEO: Surfers catch big waves at Mavericks in Half Moon Bay

The surfer dropped in on the monster wave and appeared to be in good shape until falling on the wave face and then getting rolled up in the whitewater.

He disappeared from view as jet ski rescue crews raced in to try and find him, but before they could, another 20-foot wall of whitewater washed over the surfer.

RELATED: A 1st at Mavericks in Half Moon Bay: Women will compete in legendary surf contest

On the video, Smith and other photographers can be heard expressing concern about the surfer getting hit by another wave.

After that wave passes, a jet ski crew races in again and finds the surfer, 48 seconds after he wiped out.

RELATED: Mavericks surf contest postponed until further notice

The rescue crew makes a pass hoping the surfer will grab on to the jet ski, but they can't connect before another wall of whitewater rolls in pinning the surfer for a second time.

After this second 'hold down' the surfer somehow manages to get back on his surfboard.

RELATED: Waves that rumble like a truck: Mavericks has been challenging top surfers for 20 years

Two jet ski crews race in to try and grab him, but just as he's paddling towards them a third wall of whitewater forces him under for a third time.

Finally after the last wall of water passes and a third jet ski crew joins the rescue attempt the surfer is plucked from the rocky and roiling water 100 seconds after wiping out on a five story wave.

The World Surf League elected not to hold the Mavericks Challenge this week due to huge waves and rough conditions.

Find more stories and videos on Mavericks.