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Discovering Mavericks

This past Sunday, 43-year-old big-wave surfer Peter Mel nabbed his first victory in the Mavericks Invitational. Mel, a Santa Cruz native, has surfed the competition since the inaugural contest in 1999. The fabled break that creates monster waves off the California coast near Half Moon Bay had quiet beginnings after Jeff Clark first started riding its giant faces in the winter of 1975, but it has recently garnered a lot of attention. This past fall Twentieth Century Fox released Chasing Mavericks, a biopic about the late surfer Jay Moriarity, with Gerard Butler starring as his mentor, Frosty Hesson.

This February at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, director Josh Pomer will premiere Discovering Mavericks, an 80-minute documentary on the evolution of the break. The film features interviews with Clark, Mel, and Shane Dorian, among others. "The true story of Mavericks is way heavier than any Hollywood movie could imagine," according to the trailer.

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Big-Wave Surfer Peter Mel Wins Mavericks Invitational

Roughly 14 years after first competing, California native Peter Mel took home his first Mavericks Invitational victory in intermittent but powerful waves up to 30 feet. The 43-year-old big-wave veteran, who grew up in Santa Cruz, surfed the inaugural event in 1999. "I’m satisfied with just competing at this high of a level at such an extremely difficult spot to surf. That already gives me a great sense of accomplishment," Mel told Surfer. "But this is one event that I’ve been competing in and wanting to win for so many years, so for that it feels really, really amazing."

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Young Athletes of the Year

Like it or not, professional athletes are role models for our children. Sometimes this is a good thing, and, well, sometimes it’s not. (Ahem, Lance.) Thankfully, inspiration is a two-way street: Young athletes can teach us what it means to try our hardest, practice true sportsmanship, and play for all the right reasons.

We’d all do well to take a cue from Connor and Cayden Long, whom Sports Illustrated named Sports Kids of the Year in 2012. The brothers, now nine and seven, have spent the last year and a half competing together in youth triathlons up and down the East Coast. Cool story, but here’s the hitch: Cayden, 7, who has hypertonic cerebral palsy, can’t walk or swim or ride a bike. His brother, Connor, helps him through the whole course: pulling him on a raft during the swimming leg, towing him on a bike trailer during the cycling leg, and pushing him in the trailer during the run.

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Putting Out Water for the Birds, And Getting Some Really Big Cats

Depending on where you live, the above video might make you think twice about putting water out for the birds. On January 17, a certain non-profit posted the video on their Facebook page with the following note: "During the drought in Colorado, a kind woman in a remote area put a pan of water out for the birds. Check out who else appreciated a drink!"

Watch the entire thing.

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It's Not About Lance Armstrong

Though I told myself I wouldn't do it, I watched the Lance Armstrong interview last night. It was like a bad pile-up on the highway or billows of black smoke from a distant fire—you know you shouldn't look, but it's tough not to get sucked in. I had a two-hour workout to do, and I figured the footage of the final unraveling of one of the greatest American sports heroes couldn't be any worse than my normal shoot-em-up trainer fare. I was wrong.

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