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Sailor Aidan Mobley Takes on Mavericks Big-Wave Surfing

Sailor, surfer and foiler Aidan Mobley sent in a few pics of his big-wave surfing during the epic day at Mavericks on December 28. Aidan is a Bay Area pro sailor with a BS in engineering and transportation from Cal Maritime, who spends much of his time sailing, surfing, and innovating with carbon fiber.

Aidan Mobley Mavericks
Aidan Mobley takes on a big one at Mavericks.
© 2024 Courtesy Aidan Mobley

We asked him to describe his day at Mavericks and Aidan replied, “It was pretty wild. The forecast had been jumping all around from big to massive; it was only about 48 hours before the swell [that we knew] it was going to be one for the books. There were two low-pressure systems that formed two pretty big valleys between a small high, so the day before, there were 40 knots and squalls as the first low passed. But come the morning of the 28th, we had a gap in the lows, and the swell just detonated. I had been training with my coach, Jeff Kafka, to kite the swell, but the wind didn’t really line up so I went with towing in instead. There were about 20 teams there including the HBO-funded “100-footer” Portugal team that is searching for surfing the biggest wave on Earth. It was absolutely nonstop big swell. I was really stoked to be with all the pros and learn so much.”

He continued about how sailing and surfing mix: “There’s a huge amount of crossover, and a lot of the surfers follow the high-level sailing circuits (AC, SailGP, 69F, maxi tris, etc.) pretty closely. Many of those programs have the funds to research the best foil design and technology that we can learn from and scale to meet our boards for big-wave foiling. Right now it’s still extremely dangerous and unstable; recently a French foiler had his head split at Jaws while foiling and had to be evacuated to the hospital. So safety is really becoming something that we all need to be more focused on as we continue to try and push the definition of what’s possible.”

Jeff Kafka and Aidan Mobley
     Jeff Kafka tows Aidan Mobley in for a run.
© 2024 Courtesy Aidan Mobley

Aidan took a look ahead for his 2023-24 sailing plans, saying, “I’m going to be training as often as possible in Half Moon Bay both with water safety and towing in. Big-wave surfing is absolutely something I’m In love with. For sailing, I hope to do the PV race before dialing up the offshore training for a second Pac Cup run on Ruffles. Immediately after the Pac Cup the big sailing event of the year will be the International 14 Worlds in Lake Garda. Skiff sailing has my heart and I don’t think there is a harder, more amazing boat than the I14. My skipper Cam and I have been training often and hard. There are a few teams out of RYC and SDYC that are going to field some great sailors. The fleet is the most competitive it’s been in a long time, and that’s really special. We are always looking to build the fleet, so if any readers are interested in sailing an awesome, fast boat, come down to SDYC on Jan 27-28, where we’ll be doing an introduction clinic.”

Andrew Cotton and Aidan Mobley
Big-wave surfer Andrew Cotton and Aidan got some attention from Surfer Magazine.
© 2024 Surfer Magaazine

From Mavericks to Lake Garda to Hawaii, Aidan is taking on plenty of challenging high-performance sailing and surfing opportunities while looking to develop the foils that make it all work. Read more about Aidan’s sailing journey in his story “A Nipper’s Guide to Being Value-Added” in the December 2022 issue of Latitude 38.

Local sailor Edward Stancil sent in this YouTube link of surfer Luca Padua, on one of the waves on December 28:

And for those who feel the stoke and want to read and see more on big-wave surfing, check out this story and video on

1 Comment

  1. Memo Gidley 3 months ago

    Awesome report on Aidan! Don’t know him, but what he does looks killer!

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