Nic Lamb: he won the Titans of Mavericks with steep drops | Photo: Candas/Red Bull

Nic Lamb has conquered the inaugural edition of the Titans of Mavericks, at Half Moon Bay, in Northern California.

The big wave invitational got underway in 20-to-30-foot surf and light onshore winds. There were air drops, injuries, vertical commitments, shark sightings, and unexpected freak sets in a cold water environment.

Mavs is wipeout land. It's violent, explosive and daunting. In Mavericks, you need to keep your heart rate low. Otherwise, the giant heavy wave lips will eat you. Mark Foo lost his life here nearly 22 years ago. Sion Milosky drowned here five years ago.

Fortunately, safety standards have changed a lot, and the Titans of Mavericks now have jet ski support, modern life vests, medical staff, and more experience than ever. But the abyssal drop into the bowl is often quite expensive. It might cost you your life.

It wasn't the biggest day at Mavericks. But you can never underestimate it. When it's pumping above average, this wave is always powerful and tricky.

Titans of Mavericks: Jamie Mitchell suffers | Photo: Mike Jones/Titans of Mavericks

Despite finishing his Round 1 heat in second place, Ken "Skindog" Collins would not surf the semifinal clash. He was having a fantastic heat until, in a classic whitewater wipeout, he suffered a ruptured eardrum and had to pull out of the event. "I got smashed so hard," revealed Collins.

"I had a couple of waves under my belt. I needed a big one, and a big one came to me. It didn't look really clean, but I forced it, and I went. Then, about two-thirds the way down, I thought I had it. And then I felt the whole ocean land on me, and it hit me in the head really hard."

"When I was underwater, I was spinning around. I blew my eardrum wide open. My equilibrium was going all directions. I couldn't know which way was up. I hadn't pulled this cord I would be having a hard time. Then I took three waves on the head. I was choking a bit on water," concluded Ken "Skindog."

With six-man heats, athletes knew they had put themselves in the best position to get, at least, two very good waves. Sometimes, the wind is a friend; sometimes it can be your worst enemy.

The all-star group of judges wanted to see the surf lines. They wanted surfers to take off in the bowl, under the hook, and in the critical spot of the wave - not too far out, not too far in. From a spectator point-of-view, late take-offs and breath-taking wipeouts are always must-watch moments.

Only six Titans paddled out in the 60-minute final. Mitchell, Burle, Fox, Long, Payne, and Lamb. Two surfers from Santa Cruz. In the end, it was Nic Lamb who raised the trophy designed by Bob Marzewski.

"Oh man, I am over the moon. I have so many people to thank. I want to thank the past champions, C5... A big shout out to Brock Little, my trainer, and to everyone," said an emotional Lamb.

For 2017, the world wants women in the Titans of Mavericks. Because they can; because they're surfers.

Titans of Mavericks | Final

1. Nic Lamb (USA), 25.03
2. Travis Payne (USA), 21.34
3. Greg Long (USA), 15.34
4. Tyler Fox (USA), 13.10
5. Jamie Mitchell (AUS), 12.40
6. Carlos Burle (BRA), 9.17

Boldest Drop Award: Greg Long (USA)
Best Barrel: Jamie Mitchell (AUS)

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