Peter Mel rode one of the biggest and most perfect waves ever surfed at Mavericks, Half Moon Bay, California.
On January 8, 2021, the 51-year-old surfer from Santa Cruz paddled into a 30-foot barreling wall of water, drew a perfect line, and exited the tube untouched into the channel.
A closer look reveals he had to negotiate a few steps before pulling in and making history.
Mel may very well have ridden one of the finest waves ever at the infamous cold water surf break.
Videographers shooting from land said he was so deep inside the barrel he wasn't even in the frame.
Peter Mel described his experience as a "monumental day" and "one of the best paddling sessions from the last decade at Mavericks."
The veteran big wave surfer knows the Northern California spot well.
Mel has been riding Mavericks for a few decades, and whether he's wearing a jersey or simply free surfing, he masters the multiple variables at play here.
Local Knowledge Pays Off
This time, the California swell chaser positioned himself in the perfect position for paddling into this giant wave, negotiated its breaking section, and slingshot himself into the shoulder surrounded by sea spray.
And then, instead of expressing excitement, Mel sat on his surfboard and quietly took it all in to appreciate the moment, as if he was trying to figure out what had just happened.
Later, Mel said it was his best wave in 29 years at Mavericks.
"That was radical. I had a little bit of everything. It's weird - I feel depressed right now. What do I look forward to now?" Mel stated.
He revealed he decided to take off "a little deeper" - although not from the bowl - for this memorable session.
Local knowledge, experience, and skills paid off.
"The Condor" has another story to tell his friends and family - Mavericks still has gems reserved for surfers in their 50s.
The reactions to Mel's wave were immediate.
Social media named it "wave of the decade" and "wave of the winter," but that's probably the least important thing right now.
It's a rare and stunning moment in a difficult time for surfers, surfing, and the whole world. Hopefully, Mel is just warming up.