Surfer Jacob Trette is in critical condition at the Stanford Medical Center after wiping out while surfing a giant wave Saturday at the site where the Mavericks surfing competition is held. This post by the San Francisco Surf Company’s Cyrus Sataaz on the Chronicle’s City Brights blog includes a good account of the accident. also talked to people involved in the competition that day.

River O’Mahoney Hagg was one of those unlucky enough to be caught inside. “It was a big, clean-up set, everyone was inside,” he says. “I was pretty close to that kid. We were both paddling to get over it, but neither of us made it. I had a two-wave hold down and a broken board. Once on shore, we got him on his side and the water started coming out, he was still snoring.” Hagg was one who helped while waiting for paramedics.

ESPN has put together a frame-by-frame breakdown of the mammoth wave and accident, and KTVU has raw video. It’s disturbing to watch but quite frankly hard to turn away from.

Click on photo for video.

Mark Foo, a professional surfer from Hawaii, died at Mavericks in 1994.


Update 12:45 p.m. KQED’s Dan Brekke notes that

Video: Mavericks Surfer Jacob Trette Injured by Giant Wave 24 January,2011Jon Brooks

  • Dan Brekke

    Terrible accident and amazing work by those on the scene to give this guy even a remote chance at survival (one of the accounts you link to, on Surfline, mentions a “two-wave hold down.” That means the witness quoted, as well as the victim, were essentially pinned underwater for the time it took two subsequent waves to pass. Amazing).

    Note that the big-wave contest, now called The Jay at Mavericks, was NOT held this weekend. See:

  • Kim

    Where is the Mavericks surfing video on KTVU?
    Don’t you check the URLs you post on your website?


Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks is the host and editor of KQED’s health and technology blog, Future of You. He is the former editor of KQED’s daily news blog, News Fix. A veteran blogger, he previously worked for Yahoo! in various news writing and editing roles. He was also the editor of, which documented user-generated content about the financial crisis and recession. Jon is also a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S. He has written about film for his own blog and studied film at Boston University. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College.

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