Looking for some bragging rights? Tell your friends that you kayaked Mavericks. OK, so you may not have kayaked the actual surf spot, but you’ll have come within a few miles of it. Half Moon Bay Kayak Company has a variety of ways to explore the waters off Pillar Point, which sits in the shadow of the legendary big-wave surf break. 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. In good conditions, Half Moon Bay Kayak will take you out beyond the harbor. Even if you stay within the harbor due to conditions, this is a great paddling adventure: three hours on the water, making a giant loop that includes the old fishing pier and a visit to Pillar Point, where you’ll dock and walk for a bit to the beach area overlooking the famous Mavericks surf break. If conditions are right, you might spot guys (or gals) riding the 20- to 50-foot behemoths. Giant feats all around.
BONUS NIGHT PADDLE: Half Moon Bay Kayak Company also does night tours, where magic begins with the moonrise casting a deep glow that slowly morphs as the bright white light rises above the horizon. Ask about their other light show, this one beneath the surface, where bioluminescent plankton literally glow with each dip of the paddle. Pure radiance!
Half Moon Bay Kayak Company, Pillar Point Harbor, (650) 773-6101. Kayak rentals start at $25 per person for the first hour, and are pro-rated beyond that, depending on your time on the water. The guided Pillar Point Harbor Tour is $85 per person (tours go out if there are at least three people booked).