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Science behind Mavericks’ Big Waves
Based in San Mateo, California, Darrach Bourke is a respected wealth management professional who also maintains offices in Larkspur. An avid skier and surfer, Darrach Bourke has experience riding big waves and he regularly surfed at Mavericks Beach for a decade. 

Located twenty miles south of San Francisco and featuring winter swells that rival the big waves of Oahu’s North Shore, Mavericks is known for being cold and treacherous, with quickly shifting currents, great white sharks, and a jagged ocean floor. The perfect dynamics for big winter waves involves a combination of swells, winds, and tides that is difficult to predict and equally challenging to ride.

The winds that create the monster waves typically originate in the Pacific, near Alaska, where a convergence of northward pushing high-pressure fronts and southward traveling low-pressure fronts generates fast, strong winds in a consistent southeasterly direction. 

On the coast, big waves are enabled by a topography within Half Moon Bay that features a rising ramp of sea floor that shears off steeply on either side, creating the perfect “launching pad” dynamic for monster waves to occur. When swells are moving in just the right direction, the transition period from high to low tide at Mavericks is one where the energy reaches the seafloor and is pushed up to a point where it creates waves that can reach as high as 60 feet.
Science behind Mavericks’ Big Waves
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Science behind Mavericks’ Big Waves

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