Why Mavericks Waves are So Deadly

Ocean Waves

This longform graphic explains why the waves at Mavericks — a surfing location for fanatics on the California coast — are so high and so deadly.

Putting this together required a substantial amount of research, including translating bathymetric1 terminology not readily understandable by the average reader. I found myself consulting a number of sources to remedy that.

Graphic artist and colleague Karl Gelles did a bang-up job of adding maps that showed how swells from distant storms in the Pacific Ocean are transformed into four- or five-story high waves when they reach Half Moon Bay.

1 — Another word for underwater topography.
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