Article

Healey’s Mavericks Lefts

Hawaii’s Mark Healey on taking the line less traveled in Nor Cal

| posted on February 12, 2012

Mark Healey, ready for an epic day of heavy Mavericks. Photo: Glaser

Mark Healey isn’t one to shy away from a wave that could hand him the beating of a lifetime. When we think of Mavericks, images of heaving rights come to mind. But just on the other side of the famed right-hander lay an even more sinister slab that Mark is making his newest conquest. I gave Healey a ring while he was collecting his things at the Honolulu baggage claim to find out what motivates him to push his luck in Northern California.

Tell me about your session at Mavericks last Wednesday. People are saying it was one of the best Mavericks days ever.

The conditions were really good. When the waves came in it was absolutely beautiful—probably the best conditions I’ve ever seen out there. I thought it was a little inconsistent and we really had to wait for the bigger sets. But it was fun. I had a great time.

What is the left like at Mavericks?

Really heavy [laughs]. I went to Mavericks on this trip with that in mind—to just really focus on the left, and watch it and try to get some good ones. I think a lot of it has to do with how the water was moving in there and it’s just a really, really violent wave. You really have to pick your battles and commit if you want to get a good one.

So what made you want to do that?

Because when it’s going, it’s amazing. It’s a big slab, you know? I love big left barrels and nobody’s going left out there. There can be 30 guys out and nobody’s really going left that much, so why not have a giant slab, left barrel to yourself?

Yeah, of course. Does anyone else surf the left?

You know, guys like Tyler Fox are getting lefts pretty regularly out there. And I just wanted to really try to get ‘em properly, you know? Like kind of come from the shoulder of the right and backdoor the section to try to get a real barrel. That was kind of my goal for the trip.

Did you make any?

Yeah. I made two, and I got really pounded on a couple other ones, but I got two solid barrels.

I’ve heard that the longer you sit out there, the more risks you start taking. Is that true?

Well, probably. I don’t like sitting, that’s for sure. I start getting pissed if I’m not catching waves. I start getting frustrated with myself, so I definitely don’t go out to sit around, you know? At some point I’m going to put my head down on something and just go.

Even if it’s not the most healthy-looking wave?

Yeah, exactly. Sometimes you just need to get on the scoreboard, you know?

A lot of people think that Mavericks can give a harder beating than any other spot in the world. Would you agree with that?

Mavericks is definitely a very, very heavy big wave. I don’t think I’d make a claim like that, because you never know with water. I mean, you could go down on a 4-foot wave and something really bad happens, and the next day you get caught inside by a 25-footer and somehow it just spits you out the back. But yeah, I think consistently, Mavericks is probably my least favorite place to get pounded.

Are you working on the Jay Moriarity movie?

Yeah, that’s what I was actually doing the last two days while I was over there. Yesterday was beautiful out there. I didn’t go surf, I just was swimming surfboards and 80,000 dollar cameras with waterhousings into the pit, and chucking ‘em over the falls [laughs].

Wow. What about the “Iron Cross” wipeout? I heard a lot of people have had fun trying to recreate that.

Not me. That’s for the lucky regular-footers [laughs]. Yeah they got a few guys, including [Anthony] Tashnick, who are doing the Jay doubles and hunting for that Iron Cross wipeout.

Jay Moriarity, landing our cover with his iconic Iron Cross wipeout at Mavericks.

Have you seen any good attempts lately?

I haven’t seen anybody stick to it yet. Everybody seems pretty happy with making waves. So I haven’t seen any voluntary Iron Crosses in the pit yet.

What do you think something like that is worth? How much of an incentive would you need?

Well, if you have really good water safety and some kind of flotation on you, I’d say that’s got to be worth a good $8,000 bump on your stunt rate. If it’s a proper 20-footer.

Mark Healey, looking to backdoor the left at Mavericks. Photo: Glaser

Although the left can be a very violent wave, massive barrels await those willing to throw themselves over the ledge. Photo: Glaser

Healey, hunting for a tube under a daunting section. Photo: Glaser

  • I wasn’t there cause it scares me but neither was Magnessun

    Nice to see Healey going for it! I heard he and Dorian took it up a level for 30 minutes. Good stuff! But hey, how about what he said about Tyler Fox? He’s been riding lefts and getting barreled all this time?!There’s a guy who’s been putting up the numbers for years, but because he’s apparently too nice , or makes it look easy, he doesn’t get any pictures published because he doesn’t have sponsors?! I’ll tell ya, as a former insider, I think it’s pretty lame how little show or respect he gets from you guys at the mags. Why don’t you corpo’s convince Body Glove that Magnessun sucks so we can look at pictures of Tyler really surfing in it all! I bet they know how to make a hooded suit that can last a session. Just sayin…

  • kent

    freakin HELL MAN!!

  • tomahawk waveshredder

    yeah howz it, yeah dat second pic looks pretty heavy. hope dat’s one he made cause dat one looks like a headcrusher. if i’m correct dat left empties out into da channel of death where some have gone and not return, mark foo, sion, few others i can’t recall. yeah mark just watch your ass and don’t get to overboarded going for dat left, we don’t want to lose you to dat gnarly headcrusher. yeah, iron cross it brahs, at least you know where you’ll end up, huffing and pufffing on da inside, hehehe. aloha brahs and be safe, peace!

  • http://none Steve Briggs

    What’s with bitter man going after Cheyne Mags? First off learn how to spell his last name. Second he is possibly one of the most under rated Pro surfers in the world right now. His recent performance at the Backdoor Shootout was stellar and is “air” game is cutting edge. Don’t know what you have against him but he is also one of the funnest humans to be around. Seems like you have an agenda with someone.

  • Goofy footer

    Go Healey. Breaking new ground again. As a fellow goofy footer I’ve been mind surfing that left all these years (from the other side of the world), wondering if they were possible. They just seem wide open and have such a perfect angle on them. I know guys have been going left there but these are the first shots I’ve ever seen of someone really looking for the tube. I hope you stay safe and have a good back up driver to pull you out. Keep pushing brother.

  • Another level

    That last shot of Healy gave me the first chills I’ve had from looking at a surf shot for a long time. Look at what hes committing too!?! So good with the guys on the right looking almost scared……while hes all alone driving into that. If he made that – damn! Can’t wait to see it. Props to anyone else committing that deep already.

  • Ed Cravalho

    Healey is a total sportsman. Very respectable sportsman.
    Another high quality waterman that likes those lefts is Shane Desmond. I’m pretty sure in pulled a 3rd place out of the last Mav’s contest.
    I’ve gotta thank all you guy’s surfing those giants. It is the peak of my sports entertainment and has been for 45 years.

  • wiles

    didnt Chris Malloy get the cover of SURFER going left at mavs in a massive barrel like 10 years ago, that was sick! all u are gnar i would be petrified

  • gm

    Craziness. Doesn’t/didn’t Jeff Clark go left a lot as well?

  • Whamo

    He’s a backdoor man.

  • rc

    Let’s get rid of the term “Healy’s lefts” all respect to Mark but he would be the first to admit he’s not the first and won’t be the last to go left out there. Actually quite a few guys go left out there. Ryan Augenstein is a regular footer who goes left out there a lot and has been for a while. Pete Mel goes left, Jeff clark I heard he learned to ride switch just to surf the lefts(not kidding). Shawn Dollar goes left. As for Tyler Fox, one of the best surfers in Santa Cruz has amazing style anybody whos seen him surf knows what I’m talking about. Who knows maybe you’ve seen him and didn’t know who that curly-haired ripper was?

  • yannick

    ditto on the malloy surfer mag late 90s (ish?) cover. I assume for the past 20yrs some people must have gone left

  • Forgotten Son

    Kohl Christensen was rushing lefts that same day. No mention of it at all.

    Cant believe how big-brand centric the coverage from these sessions has been. You mag guys are lucky the regulars who have charged for years in silence don’t f(#k you up.

    What would it kill you to publish a photo or two of them?

  • Scott

    Ditto on T Fox. That guys styles, shreds and charges… especially the left at Mavs!!

  • Brant

    Nice to see Mavericks and Mark Healey getting together as they are both amazing in their own right. The going left thing is old news as I have read many articles citing the fact that when Jeff Clark first started surfing there decades ago, he always went left because from his initial vantage point he thought the wave was a left hander. I believe Jeff is still hell-man of all time no matter who surfs there now as he bombed it all those years alone. Now that’s a real story…..

  • Ed

    I guess the mag just wants to make “news” out of somebody else going left at Mav’s which isn’t really deplorable, it’s certainly eye-catching when somebody in the lineup is trying something different. But to only mention Fox when Chris & Keith Malloy along with what I’m sure is a long list of chargers has been braving the left for almost 2 decades is a bit much.

  • stu

    Jeff Clark was going left at Mavs decades ago.

  • Kevin James

    Jeff Clark is a lame sellout… if you think anything else your a kook too

  • Max E. Pad

    I was out on the Pacific, on a small boat with 20+ foot swells abounding and i was freaked. Dropping into the trough and seeing nothing around you but water is scary but imagine how it is to be on your own, on a board in the same or even bigger conditions!!! Every man, woman or animal that paddles out at Mav’s has iron balls and is due utmost respect. No need for criticism on these heroes, better criticism is due to these self-proclaimed big wave authorities look in the mirror and see giant labia. Mark Healey is fearless and a great surfer. Confirmation comes when you watch his ballistic charges at HUGE PIPE CLOSEOUTS. The only criticism due to M.H. is his taste in clothing.

  • Deepsea

    Go left at Haleiwa, or right at Puaena point if you want a head crusher!!!

  • Beth Sez

    So, @Kevin James, bitter enough to make a rude comment about Jeff Clark. So explain to me exactly what you mean by “sell out” because I hear that term a lot. Here’s a guy, 17 years old, surfs heavy Mavericks BY HIMSELF for 15 years until he could finally get some guys to paddle out there with him. Those guys from Santa Cruz then told everyone, the media, etc. It blew up when the SC dudes came in, followed by the Hawaiians, then the media. Clark had no sponsors, no glory, just surfing for the love of it still today. And now there are guys like Healey and Slater who have sponsors, money, GoPro cameras to capture every bit of their lives on video to instantly share with the world, including remote surf spots. But Mavericks is hardly remote, just south of San Francisco – of course it was going to go global with or without Jeff Clark. His private spot is sitting just offshore of one of the biggest media markets in the world. You blame Clark? Get real. So he has a cool story and owns a surf shop – why is that a “sell out” compared to what today’s guys are doing with shameless self-promotion, surfing for huge prize money and ad deals and the next photo op in some sleazy surf mag. Clark doesn’t have $ and surfs for the love of it. So, “Kevin James”, are you a sell-out every time you post a a photo of you surfing, or look at photos in the surf mags? You are lame. Fine, don’t like the guy, but he is far from today’s surfers and kooks who do everything to get noticed and sponsored.