Taylor Luckenbach
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Sunset paddle out at Mavericks signifies the beginning of the big wave surf season and the recently announced Mavericks Surf Awards — a video-performance competition

Story and photos by Taylor Luckenbach

  On October 25, 2019, at 4 P.M Adventure Sports Journal attended a ceremonial paddle out led by Mavericks pioneer Jeff Clark  and entrepreneur Chris Cuvelier. At sunset, the two men were joined by over thirty community members to celebrate Mavericks and the launch of an exciting new video performance contest: Mavericks Surf Awards.

It has been four years since the legendary surf spot, Mavericks, has hosted a big wave surf contest and the recently announced video-based surf competition is quickly grabbing attention. Instead of the traditional one-day invitation-only competition, this uniquely formatted contest invites videographers and athletes to work together over the entirety of the Mavericks surf season (November 1st, 2019 through April 15th, 2020) and submit their best wave videos.

“We brainstormed together every night for about two weeks to come up with our goals and intentions behind this competition,” stresses Chris Cuvelier.

With an emphasis on unity, equality, inclusion, water safety, and environmental stewardship, Chris Cuvelier and Jeff Clark are teaming up to provide a platform in which all experienced and up-and-coming athletes and videographers can work together to create epic surf content. 

paddle out for MSA

Multi-generational paddlers stand in line awaiting the start of the paddle out.

“Of course one of the rules is that an athlete has to finish a wave.” Chuckles Maverick pioneer Jeff Clark. “But seriously we are making this rule to encourage safety in the water and maintain the roots of original Maverick Surf competitions. Instead of just going for huge waves for the sake of the video, this rule makes athletes think twice about the waves they are surfing — they have to finish them.” 

paddle out for MSA

Onlookers take photos as the the paddlers form a circle and slap the water while cheering.

The contest will be judged based on five separate categories: Male Performer of the Year; Female Performer of the Year; Biggest Wave; Best Wave; and Best Barrel.

“We have incredible young athletes out here who are still waiting tables, and we want to provide them with financial support to continue participating in this sport.” Explains Clark. 90% of the prize money for each category will be awarded to the athlete and 10% to the videographer. 

paddle out for MSA

Community members of all ages excitedly line up their boards at the start of the paddle out ceremony.

The Paddle Out

This past Friday, Cuvelier, Clark and the youngest person to ever surf mavericks Luca Padua – who will also be an official advisor to the contest, led members of the Half Moon Bay community in a ceremonial paddle out, right outside of Pillar Point Harbor. 

“We want to thank the community for joining us today, and we hope that everyone feels as excited as we are about the start of this surf season and Mavericks Surf Awards.” Cuvelier closes. Moments later all members of the paddle out suited up and grabbed their boards as the sun melted behind the horizon. With Jeff Clark leading the way and Luca Padua following close behind, multiple surf generations blend into one, and big-wave surf season begins. 


Jeff Clark is the first one in the water leading the sunset paddle.

paddle out for MSA

Excited paddlers listen as Chris Cuvelier, Luca Padua and Jeff Clark give thanks to the Half Moon Bay community.

paddle out for MSA

From right to left: Chris Cavalier, Luca Paula and Jeff Clark spread the word about Mavericks Surf Awards and thank Half Moon Bay community members for participating in the paddle out.

paddle out for MSA

Jeff Clark is all smiles as he poses for pictures moments before jumping into the water.

paddle out for MSA

Large leaves are gifted to paddlers as part of a traditional Hawaiian Ceremony.

paddle out for MSA

Paddlers begin putting on their wetsuits and line up their boards.

paddle out for MSA

Community members watch Jeff, Chris and Luca give their opening statements and initiate the paddle out.