Troy Nebeker Photograpahs Surfers Chasing Epic Waves at Mavericks

“That was completely insane”, says photographer Troy Nebeker as he recounted his once-in-a-lifetime adventure at Mavericks last week. “The waves were like a three story building, strapped to the top of a freight train.”

On Dec. 26th, while most people were waking from Christmas Day hangovers, Troy answered a text from his friend Duke Brouwer. “Looks like we have something on the radar for Mavs. It’s go-time my friend." Troy loaded his truck and made his way from Seattle to Mavericks, a world-famous break near Half Moon Bay in Northern California known for being one of the heaviest surfing spots in the country. “Big Thursday was a rare El Niño storm,” says Nebeker. “I had the chance to photograph professional big wave surfers from around the world as they attempted to ride the historic 30 ft waves, it was a dream come true.”

Troy, a surfer, snowboarder, and action sports junkie, has spent his time as a professional photographer - photographing athletes doing what they do best. “I have seen a lot, but this was on another level, to say it was jaw dropping and terrifying doesn’t do it justice."

To get to the action, Troy and Duke loaded up the jet ski and headed out. Duke is a seasoned professional with countless hours spent in the Mavs line up. Troy held onto Duke with a white-knuckle grip on one hand and shot photos with the other. The goal was to capture the action and give people a front row seat. Shooting from the shoulder of the wave takes courage and finesse. Duke delivered. “I came away with a huge respect for both the athletes and the rescue teams. Their confidence and professionalism are legendary.”

I asked Troy if he would do it again. “At first, I was anxious. And when we got back, I was questioning some of my life choices. But now, after a little reflection - hell yes. I’d do that again.”

Dukes instagram: @dukebra

Surfer: Nic von Rupp Instagram: @nicvonrupp

Surfer: Tony Laureano Instagram: @tonylaureano_

Surfer: Ryan Augenstein Instagram: @ryanaugenstein

Jet ski: Drake Stanley Instagram: @carptarpitz

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