Monster Mavericks

There are a lot of videos/documentaries on Mavericks.

But “Monster Mavericks” is different.

“It’s the best [Mavericks] footage that’s ever been captured”, Jeff Clark says — he calls the late ’23 day “historic” in wave size and performance.

The doc has the behind-the-scenes build-up too!

The story?

Forecasters had projected December 28, 2023 to be epic.

The buoys were popping off the charts (35 feet/15 seconds).

The “Nazaré Crew” (Nazaré, Portugal is home to the biggest wave every surfed (86 feet) (26.2 meters) scramble to fly out to Pillar Point. The Maui crew catches red-eye flights to get in on the action.

And, luckily, world-class video man Tim Bonython captures the day before and the day of (including six straight hours motoring around the chop!).

Tim shoots a theater-quality 8K resolution waterproof camera (the “Red V-Raptor”).

It weighs 27 pounds and costs $20,000!, says Gregory Thomas of the San Francisco Chronicle (see Film captures historic day at Mavericks).

If you want to get right to the waves in the doc, skip to 20 minute mark.

But I don’t recommend you skip anything.

The first 20 min. makes the next 25 min.all the better.


Watch “Monster Mavericks”

Stream it for free on YouTube (thanks to Surfing Visions) by clicking the embed above or clicking here:


  • My Rating: 96/100
  • IMDB Rating: na
  • Rotten Tomatoes Ratings: na

My Review of “Monster Mavericks”

Tim Bonython (award winning surf cinematographer) and big wave surfer Jeff Clark (who also owns Clark Surfboards) open up the video.

They chat about their expectations for what might be a “really big” day.

Tim is filming it.

Big wave surfers interviewed the day before the big day are:

  • Tanner Waite (he mentions 37 foot buoy reading…”kinda scary about what might happen tomorrow”)
  • Matahi Drollet
  • Pete Luigi
  • Jeff Kafka
  • Rafael Tapia

Before the big day, Kevin Clark (son of Jeff who helps tow in surfers) talks about how there will need to be a “different route out to Mavericks”…and they’ll have to”watch out for the reefs”.

And then the big day (Dec. 28, 2023) comes.

It’s 6:10am.

Now, the film team starts to document folks who are about to go out.

They interview acclaimed Mavericks photographer Frank Quirarte (“Chasing Mavericks” (2012) and “Billabong Odyssey” (2003)) is on hand. “Every wave’s a beast…it’s gonna be something for sure”.

Next they interview Peter Mel (a big wave surfer and son of 4-time surfing National Champion John Mel). As Peter is going out, he says “We’ll be alright…hopefully”.

Lucas Chumbo is next. “Today looks like a big solid day.”

Anthony Sullivan is next: “Nerves are good. I’m excited and I’ve got a healthy dose of respect for this place…twenty-five years I’ve been dreaming to surf in this place…so hopefully I get one wave today.”

Others who chat with Bonython include:

  • Clement Roseyro is next to be interviewed
  • William Santana

Then, Bonython realizes his Zodiac has a dead battery…he’s delayed. Kevin Clark to the rescue.

That’s lucky for Sullivan who needed a tow out. After repeated snafus with the Zodiac, Jeff Clark comes to the rescue. He tows Bonython out to take the footage.

Surfing Action Begins (20:28)

At 20:28, the doc starts showing riders taking waves.

A total of 19 surfers are captured taking 39 waves. Bonython also captures waves with no one on them…just the waves.

You’ll see the following surfers in this order:

  • Lucas Chumbo
  • Andrew Cotton
  • Tony Laureano
  • Kai Lenny
  • Matahi Drollet
  • Lucas Fink (on skim board!) (at 22:50)

There’s a brief break and then at 23:32 you see more rides:

  • JoJo Roper (this was my favorite ride of the day)
  • Unnamed rider
  • Lucas Chumbo
  • Will Skudin
  • Lucas Fink
  • Unnamed rider
  • Tony Laureano
  • Unnamed rider

Then (at 26:34) there’s a runaway jetski…it’s wild.

The runwaway jetski looks alive and “just missed us”, Bonython says.

…followed by more rides:

  • Kai Lenny
  • Alo Slebir (longest ride)
  • “Sully” (Anthony Sullivan) finally arrives and gets his wave (At 28:02)
  • Unnamed rider
  • Unnamed rider
  • Sacha Bongaertz
  • Nic Von Rupp
  • Andrew Cotton
  • Kai Lenny (yes, his 3rd ride of the day!)

One of them (at 35: 56) is one that doesn’t look like anyone would wanna ride.

The rides keep comin. Next you have:

  • Bianca Valenti
  • Bianca Valenti (again) (wipeout!)
  • Andrew Cotton
  • Ridge Lenny
  • Rafael Tapia
  • John Mel
  • Jeff Kafka

At 35:56, there is wave that no one takes (rightfully so).

Then, more rides:

  • Peter Mel (I wonder if this is the first every father-son day at Mavericks)
  • Luca Padua
  • Rafael Tapia
  • Luca Padua
  • Unnamed rider
  • Unnamed rider (wipeout)
  • Mikey Joshua
  • Peter Mel

More rides (at 38:43):

  • Mikey Joshua
  • Kai Lenny
  • Lourence Katzenstein
  • Unnamed rider
  • Mikey Joshua (on second thought, this might be the longest ride) (41:36)
  • Lucas Chumbo (360!)
  • Peter Mel
  • Unnamed rider (bailing…which seems wise in retrospect)
  • Pete Luigi (cool to see, after he crashes, how deep a dive he does under the following wave)

At 44:20, they wrap things up with post-ride interviews with Andrew Cotton and Jeff Clark.

What a day.

Thanks for reading!

Rob Kelly, Chief Maniac, Daily Doc