Mavericks Invitational surf competition organizers have their sights set on Friday for the possibility of the renowned big wave surf contest off Half Moon Bay that draws the top names in surfing from all over the world.
UPDATE: With a large Pacific storm pushing large waves toward California, organizers of the big wave Mavericks surfing contest have told competitors to grab their boards and get ready.
Jeff Clark, director of the event, called the contest for Friday after forecasters determined that the right mixture of swell size and weather would make for waves with faces exceeding 40 feet.
Twenty-four of the world’s best big wave surfers now have until Friday to make their way to the break a half-mile off the coast near Half Moon Bay.
Mavericks is known as one of the world’s most perilous surfing spots.
Two seasoned watermen have died there, including legendary big-wave rider Mark Foo from Hawaii in 1994.
This year’s competitors feature local and international surfers, including former Mavericks champion Greg Long.
Original story below:
Big wave enthusiasts and competitors have high hopes for conditions gigantic enough to host the international Mavericks Invitational surf competition in Half Moon Bay Friday.
A brewing storm could lend to the much raved about local contest for which competitors from across the globe have been on alert since October. The contest is officially on yellow alert standby. Everyone involved in the event is given as little as 24 hours to drop into the sleepy coastal town and put on one of the largest big wave events in the country.
“There’s a significant swell on the rise that’s coming our way and, from the forecast models and computer-generated models they’re looking at, the height requirements are there. Now it’s just looking at everything else like swell intervals and wind conditions,” said Mavericks Invitational spokeswoman Jessica Banks.
Forecasters are currently looking at 30-foot faces for Friday, but that could change as quickly as it mounts, Banks said.
If booming conditions subside, the contest window will remain open until March 31.
The one-day invite-only surf competition is dependent on towering swells that have been known to break up to a terrifying 50 feet overhead. A hazardous rogue swell in 2010 bombarded Invitational spectators along the beach as it ran ashore and caused several injuries. Last year, coordinators decided to close off the bluffs and for the second time the Mavericks Invitational festival will be held at the Oceano Hotel and Spa where thousands of fans can gather in anticipation and awe as they witness at least 24 of the world’s most prominent surfers brave some of the gnarliest perils Mother Nature has to offer.
Last year’s champion Santa Cruz native Peter Mel will be giving competitors another run for their money. This year’s invites include Californians Ryan Augenstein, Ken Collins, Shawn Dollar, Colin Dwyer, Nathan Fletcher, Tyler Fox, Nic Lamb, Greg Long, Rusty Long, Ryan Seelback, Anthony Tashnick, Grant Washburn, Zack Wormhoudt; Hawaiians Kohl Christensen, Shane Dorian, Mark Healey, Jamie Sterling, Dave Wassell; South Africans Grant Baker, Chris Bertish; Brazilians Carlos Burle, Alex Martins and Australian Ben Wilkinson.
Should any of the invitees not make it, alternates Shane Desmond, Danilo Couto, Derek Dunfee, Kelly Slater, Tyler Smith and Frank Solomon will be given a chance to compete. This year’s title sponsors include Body Glove and the San Mateo-based GoPro.
Last year’s festival attendance fell short of expectations but Mavericks officials are hyping new and improved plans which include live action on a JumboTron, music, food, beer garden and access to the coveted awards ceremony.
Festival tickets are start at $15 and parking is $20. For more information visit mavericksinvitational.com
(650) 344-5200 ext. 106