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Jeff Clark (born March 26, 1957, Redwood City, California) is one of the most noteworthy and respected big-wave surfers, famous for surfing Mavericks alone for 15 years before it was widely discovered by the big-wave surfing community.
Born in Redwood City, Clark moved with his family to Miramar Beach in Half Moon Bay when he was a young boy. He soon began surfing and seeking out bigger, stronger waves along the rugged Northern California coast. In the winter, Clark and his friends could see the large waves off Pillar Point breaking from the hillside of Half Moon Bay High School. After carefully studying the conditions, Clark paddled out at Maverick's at the age of 17, leaving behind his high school friend who declined the adventure and instead told Clark he would "call the Coast Guard and tell them where I last saw you." He surfed Maverick's alone for the next 15 years before he could get others to surf it with him (although several would paddle out, none would take on the massive waves). Since then, his name has become linked to Maverick's for his dedication to the spot without wave models or water patrol. Additionally, Clark shaped his boards specifically for the conditions at Maverick's.
Clark is among the few ambidextrous big wave surfers in the world. Others in this category include Todd Smith and Andy Littenstall, who both also surf at Mavericks. A natural goofyfooter, Jeff spent ten years learning to ride regularfoot. This allowed him to ride frontside (facing the wave) when he started taking on the more dangerous right-breaking waves at Maverick's.
Labeled one of the "world's best big-wave riders" by Surfer Magazine in 1994, Clark, along with Maverick's and the Half Moon Bay surf scene, has been featured in such films as Riding Giants and Adventures in Wild California. He is the only surfer in the San Mateo County Sports Hall of Fame.
Clark founded the annual Mavericks Surf Contest with surf clothing manufacturer Quiksilver in 1998 and later joined forces with Evolve Sports, a San Francisco-based sports marketing group, to form Mavericks Surf Ventures (MSV). In 2009, MSV took over the contest and Clark later resigned from the Board of Directors, thus cutting ties with MSV.
Clark is recognized as one of the premier big wave surfboard shapers in the country and shapes a full line of custom boards. He owns Mavericks Surf Shop in the Princeton Harbor neighborhood of Half Moon Bay, not far from the break. He sells his own line of clothing and surfboards at his shop.
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