I had the chance to connect with my brother, who’s been doing water rescue patrol for the past 10 years at Mavericks. Luckily for me, my brother grew up with the founder’s son Kevin Clarke, Jeff Clarke’s son.

If you don’t know the story, here are the cliff notes. Jeff surfed these waves for something like 15 years before he told anyone but his very close friends about it. I’ve grown up knowing about these waves because of my brother’s involvement. I thought I “knew” what it was like to be around something so special and crazy, but I honestly had no idea how loud waves of this size really are. Nor the full consequences.

So I got the grand tour. I saw the founders’ shaping room, saw where the best surfers around the world keep their “Mavericks guns,” and pretty much got the spot that every TV reporter wished they could get and never will…well, aside from the zodiac’s motor failing as we drifted into the bowl.

Anyways, here are a few of my favorite photos that I snapped during the event.