For most, surfing 50-foot swells would be too intimidating to fathom trying. But for a select few surfers, including Matt Becker, opening day at Mavericks can be fairly hectic but it is a highly anticipated time of the year.

We caught up with Matt to get his take on this year’s waves and surviving a few beat downs by Mother Nature.

I have a lot of thoughts on this last Mavericks swell on December 8, 2020, Matt explains.

It was a really historic swell, for several reasons. It’s rare to have Mavericks that big and that clean. The swell angle was excellent. we had light wind conditions all day, and the crowd was very mellow for the most part.

By the afternoon there were these insane sets – 8 to 10 waves in them and a solid 25-30 feet. I’ve never seen that in my time out there. That’s not to say it hasn’t happened in the past, but in the last nine years or so there haven’t been that many big swells on that level.

On top of that, we really saw how big-wave riding is progressing. People were consistently catching huge perfect waves from the second reef, which begins to break once the surf hits the 25-foot range, and we’re ridden beautifully and with confidence.

As for myself, I paddled into the biggest waves I’ve ridden regular surfing (not tow surfing) and probably spent 10+ hours in the water hunting down big waves.

I’m still processing that day. It was a nonstop adrenaline dump, and will forever be etched in my mind.


When the ocean comes alive Matt prefers to charge Mavericks where the risk can outweigh the reward – but it’s worth it and the end of the day when you make it to the shore alive.

Read more about Mavericks surfing in the latest NBC Bay Area article.

Watch our full film on Matt Becker, surfer and commercial fisherman, on YouTube – Just click below to see his story.


Commercial fisherman by trade and big wave surfer by choice, this California native has found the true balance and meaning in working hard and playing harder. Matt gets up early, before the sun, to get prepped and ready for a day on the boat with his Dad. When he’s not fishing to earn a living, you can find Matt on route to his favorite surf spots along the coast.

I’ve been surfing since I was about 6 years old. I graduated from a boogie board and riding surfboards ever since. Little did I know back then that one day I would be riding some of the biggest waves in the world.