Looking for some bragging rights? Tell your friends that you kayaked Maverick’s. OK, so you may have not kayaked the actual notorious surf spot but you’ll have come within a mile of it. Half Moon Bay Kayak Company has a variety of ways to explore the waters of Pillar Point, which sit in the shadow of the legendary big-wave surfbreak. Do-it-yourselfers can rent a kayak by the hour and comfortably cruise within the protected harbor. But if you’re tempted to check out some bigger and more rowdy waves, set out with a guide for an adventure paddle beyond the harbor limits. They’ll take you out as far as you’d like in good conditions. Float by funny-sounding surf scooters (listen for their whistle when they take off), beautiful orange-beaked oystercatchers and brown pelicans galore. Take a short break on the beach where spectators traditionally gather for the Maverick’s surf contest (This year’s waiting period is December 1, 2010 to February 28, 2011). If conditions are right, you might spot guys (or gals) riding the 20- to 50-foot behemoths. Giant feats all around.
TIP: For some melt-in-your-mouth fish and chips, get take-out from Barbara’s Fish Trap just down the street from Half Moon Bay Kayaks at 281 Capistrano Rd.
Half Moon Bay Kayak Company, Pillar Point Harbor; 650-773-6101. Kayak rentals start at $20 for the first hour and $15 each additional hour. The guided Pillar Point Harbor Tour goes out every Saturday at 11 a.m. and is $65 per person.