Isurus Rider Grant Washburn waits for the Mavericks Invitational to GO!
by Bob Driver
The window has been opened… that is the contest window for one of big wave surfing’s most premier events, the Mavericks Invitational.
It’s been two years since the last running of Mavs, but as this year’s collection of watermen assembled on the beach near Half Moon Bay, many of them confidently shared the belief that this year’s forecast is primed to produce the cold water swells needed to make this event a GO!
Contest director Jeff Clark is the man responsible for pushing the button that brings competitors from around the world to Nor Cal. But before Mr. Clark ignites that 24 hour fuse, he’ll consult many forecasters, legends and competitors; including Isurus Team Rider Grant Washburn.
Washburn has been battling Mavs for 20 years and is one of the few hell-men to have been invited every year to compete; dating back to the event’s inception in 1998. With all of his years of local knowledge, it is no surprise that when the waves begin to get heavy, most of the lineup turns to Grant to take their cues. “This is a place that is very challenging,” Grant relayed at the opening ceremony to the San Mateo Daily Journal, “So we all know that; and guys are not silly and crazy daredevils, but very calculated. It’s easy to get excited, cause you’re having fun out there, and let your guard down. But we have to always keep in mind that even on a small day, this place could kill you.”
One of the reasons Washburn chooses to ride for Isurus is the company’s advanced use of Yamamoto neoprene. This closed cell material is 98% hydrophobic and Grant will tell you, that makes a huge difference during the massive wipeouts Mavs is known for; his Isurus i-Soldier 454 SCS Hooded Fullsuit repels most of the water, allowing him to slip through the water easier… rather than skipping down the side of a three storey wave.
At the opening ceremony the riders received tea leaves, in accordance with Hawaiian tradition. Then they all paddled out to form a circle and collectively prayed for surf. Once their prayers are answered, all we know for sure is how the surfers will initially be shuffled:
|Heat #1||Heat #2||Heat #3||Heat #4|
|Peter Mel||Chris Bertish||Tyler Smith||Alex Martins|
|Dave Wassel||Jamie Sterling||Ryan Augenstein||Anthony Tashnick|
|Mark Healey||Grant Washburn||Zach Wormhoudt||Grant Baker|
|Kelly Slater||Shawn Dollar||Shane Dorian||Ben Wilkinson|
|Ken Collins||Nathan Fletcher||Greg Long||Carlos Burle|
|Rusty Long||Matt Ambrose||Ryan Seelbach||Shane Desmond|
All of these men have met the challenge of Mavs before, yet only one of them will rise above their broad shoulders for the next epic Nor Cal swell… and that surfer will solely be picked by Mavericks.