Bianca Valenti Mavericks

Bianca Valenti dropping into a big wave. Location: Mavericks in Half Moon Bay, California.

‘Riding Waves’ NBC BAY AREA Revelations

In honor of tonight’s premier on NBC Bay Area Revelations.  I’m sharing a ride from a classic California swell about a year ago. This afternoon we were surfing at Mavericks in Half Moon Bay.

The winds were strong enough to block your vision and dry you eyeballs.  The air and water cold enough to freeze the tip of your nose and fingers.

We arrived late to the party. The crowd was thick and filled with the best in the world.  In times like these I imagine what it could be like being one of 3 felines in a lions den.  Could it feel similar? Needing a breath of air and a moment to set my mind. I paddled way outside of the pack.  “Focus on the waves not the people” I was telling myself as I practiced slow breathing to lower my heart rate.

The ocean began moving and my moment was on the horizon.  I looked over and saw world champion Grant Twiggy Baker and Kai Lenny who also saw the waves in pursuit.  Twiggy, the wise elder of the three of us said, Kai you go first then Bianca then me. And just like that wave one came even bigger than we expected.  Kai spun at the last minute with no hesitation as white water enveloped him.

Wave 2 arrived and it was my turn.  With my heart racing out of my chest and Twigging yelling at the top of his lungs GO B GO!!! I spun around put my head down and started sprint paddling as fast as I could as I watched the guys part ways and follow Twiggy in cheering me into this wave.  Successfully riding a wave like this requires unwavering commitment.  And blind faith because you can’t see with the wind.   And with a crowd like this I would be lucky to get a chance at another one wave like this.  I paddled 10 extra times than normal to offset the force of the wind.  As I was dropping everything went silent and I think the call it a flow state of mind.  I was on the most vertical critical ride of my life putting everything I’d ever learned in my life to the test.  And it felt like butter!  Pure exhilaration and a testament to hard work and commitment paying off.  In all the ways. What a wave!!!

Can’t wait to see the NBC Bay Area Revelations  “Riding Waves” episode tonight. Christine Ni and her team are amazingly talented and capable of riding metaphorical big waves like these in journalism and the art of story telling.

Bianca Valenti Mavericks