Kevin Cody

Hammerland, Mavericks pictured at their best by four South Bay photographers

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Australian Jamie Mitchell at Mavericks last Tuesday. Photo by Richard Podgurski. RP-Photography.com

by Kevin Cody

Brad Jacobson said the surf last Tuesday at the El Segundo Jetty, was the best he’s shot since he made “Chasing El Nino” during the 2015-16 winter.

“It wasn’t giant, but it was big, conditions were clean and the barrel rides were the longest I’ve ever seen in the South Bay,” the videographer said..

Longtime South Bay surf photographer Mike Balzer agreed. Bazer’s barrel photos that day of El Segundo native Tyler Hatzikian show why Hatzikian is recognized as the jetty’s preeminent surfer, while barrel shots of former Mira Costa team rider Chad Parker show there are younger surfers ready to step up.

On the same Tuesday, South Bay extreme sports photographers Bo Bridges and Richard Podruskyi were photographing Mavericks, just south of San Francisco. The big wave spot was also its best in years, the two photographers said.

Bridges was shooting from the 17-foot Boston Whaler “Dark Horse,” driven up from Hermosa Beach the day before by its owner Peter DeAvila.

Peter DeAvila jockeys his Boston Whaler Dark Horse to a position where photographer can Bo Bridges get his shots. Photo courtesy of Peter DeAvila

The surf was so big, DeAvila said, that waves were breaking on the reef at the entrance to Pillar Point Harbor, where they launched from.

“We waited for a lull, then followed one of the local boats out. I figured he knew what he was doing,” DeAvila said.

After reaching Maverick’s DeAvila jockeyed with the 30 other boats and the surfers’ jet skis for a position where Bridges could get his shots. 

Podgurski was on a local boat arranged for him by Australian big wave rider Jamie Mitchell. Mitchell flew to Mavericks Monday from Hawaii after having surfed the same big, long period northwest swell on Sunday at Jaws on Maui’s North Shore.

Podgurski had photographed Mitchell twice before at Mavericks.

“But those days weren’t epic. This was a day I’ll remember the rest of my life,” Podgurski said. Mitchell described Mavericks on Tuesday as “the best I’ve ever paddled into.’

Bridges and Podurski shot from sunrise to sunset.

When Bridges and DeAvila returned to the harbor they met up with Hawaiian big wave rider Kai Lenny. 

Bridges recorded Lenny’s thoughts on video.

“It was really big,” Lenny said. “It was breaking on the second reef, way outside, where I’ve never seen it break before. You could get these chip shots straight into the bowl and hopefully have enough speed to make it around and not get exploded. I found my rhythm and did it all day. Took 15 minutes off to eat a burrito. You don’t get waves this good that often, so you have to make it happen,” Lenny said. ER 

Photos by Richard Podgurski 

Photos by Bo Bridges 

Photos by Mike Balzer

Photos by Brad Jacobson

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