OS X Mavericks is named after a dog
When Craig Federighi introduced OS X, he explained that the next 10 years of the Mac’s operating system will be named after “those places that inspire us here in California”. He then went on to unveil OS X Mavericks:
So for our first California-themed release we went just outside our back yard, just off the coast, to a place with some of the biggest waves and most extreme surfing in all of North America.
Millions of people are about to update their operating system to OS X Mavericks and will have a photo of a wave as their background. I thought it might be interesting to share the story of the man who pioneered this wave. His name is Jeff Clark.
Mavericks is a surf spot located just outside Half Moon Bay; the topography of the ocean floor beneath the water creates a big wave whenever there’s a large swell. The spot was originally named after a white-haired German shepherd called Maverick who liked to paddle out in the waves with his owners; the s came later.
Jeff first rode it in 1975 when he was just 17 years old. He had to navigate rocks and powerful rip currents to get out there. Although his friend promised to call the coast guard if he got into trouble, there was no real safety net. The title of this post links to a section of Riding Giants that has interviews with Jeff and others about the spot. Even if you’re not interested in surfing, the clip (and the movie) are well worth watching. In it, he describes his first wave at Mavericks:
I’ve never felt water pass across the bottom of a surfboard so fast. Fastest I’ve ever gone — and I made it. I just thought, man, I want another one of those.
What’s incredible is that Jeff continued to surf Mavericks on his own for 15 years. He tried to convince others to join him but they all thought he was crazy. Back then, small waterproof cameras such as the GoPro didn’t exist. There was no way for him to document what he was doing and share it with others. He was riding solo.
People just didn’t believe me.
Eventually, he was able to convince a photographer to come and capture a photo of him riding it. In 1990, this photo made the cover of Surfer magazine and the secret was out.
After years of facing some of the most dangerous surfing conditions in North America alone, Jeff finally had company. Big wave surfers from all over the world made the pilgrimage to Half Moon Bay hoping to catch Mavericks on a big day. It’s become a mainstay on the competition circuit, a powerful stage for some incredible videos, and, tragically, a place where some of the best surfers have lost their lives. Some people dispute whether Jeff was the first person to ride Mavericks — that’s hard to verify — however, there’s no question that he’s done the most to explore and promote it. So, when you upgrade to OS X Mavericks, take a moment to think about the dog Maverick and the man Jeff.
My thanks to Sash MacKinnon and Tim O'Shea for reading drafts of this post.