Chris Mashburn Maverick's January 26, 2017
San Diego native Chris Mashburn is a relatively new face in the World Surf League's Big Wave Awards, but his 2017 nomination is as legit as it gets. While he's yet to have his name in lights, he has never been one to turn away when the surf goes from the ridiculous to the sublime. The surf at Maverick's tends to do that. One minute it's near the outer margins of doable, when there are some serious sets but there are still enough entry points that everyone is in the game and challenged.
Then, literally out of the blue, Maverick's can go straight Double Black Diamond and become survival only. When this happens, after a few sets, there's no shame in paddling, and people out in those conditions have no problem heading for the channel and pointing their guns towards the shoreline.
On this day, according to a few of the stories that came out afterwards, Maverick's paused, yawned a long slow yawn of 20 minutes and then spewed forth a torrent of survival-only sets. Most people scratched over them all. Chris Mashburn went on one.
Perhaps he was desperate to get a wave in, perhaps he first had his eyes on the left, but with hordes of surfers desperately scrambling for the horizon he launched into one of the biggest, roundest paddle-in waves of the season.
For an instance we can see him standing there as the full brunt of that wave is about to unleash on him, and the rest of the story is made up by the overactive imaginations of nervous surfers everywhere.
It's a helluva ride.