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Mavericks Invitational surf contest is a “GO” for Sunday!

AND it is the FIRST Mavericks Invitational in THREE YEARS…!

Some of the best surfing in the world is NOT very easy to see!

That is because it’s at the Mavericks surf break which is about 2 miles offshore from Princeton-by-the-Sea, AND contest organizers are REQUIRED to keep fans away from the break as part of the permit for the contest! The Santa Cruz Sentinel says:

Unlike years past, no fans will be allowed on the cliffs overlooking the break. Safety concerns were raised after waves swept over and injured some spectators in 2010.

The best way for fans to see the action will be via the live webcast at or at the Mavericks Festival being held outside the Oceano Hotel and Spa near the Pillar Point Harbor. The festival will offer big screen coverage from the cliffs and the water, as well as color commentary for the contest.

Festival tickets are $10 in advance and $20 at the door.

Fans will also not be able to park along Highway 1 or other areas near the break. The only contest parking will be at the Half Moon Bay Airport at 3850 Cabrillo Highway. Parking costs $15 and proceeds go to the Boys & Girls Club of Coastside.

Jeff Clark, a member of the five-man committee charged with picking the conditions for running the Mavericks Invitation big wave surf contest (AND credited with DISCOVERING the big wave break) predicts:

“The waves may not be as tall (as in past years), but the power will be ferocious.”

Clark said he expects wave heights to reach about 15-foot “Hawaiian,” which translates to about 30-foot faces.

Whoa! 😉

The swell came onto the radar 3,000 miles out in the Pacific Ocean, moving quickly because it was pushed by winds of 70 knots or more! By Sunday, the winds and chop should be gone, but the POWER will remain!

USUALLY, the best surfers in the world are given only 24 hours notice that the Mavericks Invitation will be held. The Sentinel continues:

In an unprecedented move, this year the surfers from Australia to Brazil to South Africa were given more than 80 hours to make arrangements to get here. Clark said that’s because the swell developed deep in the Pacific, rather than from a storm off the coast, and the contest won’t get hung up with weather issues.

Past and present Mavericks surfers picked the invitee list three years ago. So… which surfers are invited?

Mavericks Invitational organizers will start looking 3,000 miles east in the hopes of seeing one of the world’s best-known surfers, Kelly Slater, packing up his big wave guns, thick wetsuits, booties and caps and setting out for Maverick’s from his home in Florida. It would be the first time Slater, who surfed in the Coldwater Classic at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz in November, competes at Maverick’s since the late 1990s.

“He says he’s coming,” Clark said of the 11-time world champion. “When I see his shining face I’ll know he’s here.”

The invitee list also includes eight Santa Cruz surfers: Dollar, Ken “Skindog” Collins, Ryan Augenstein, Peter Mel, Tyler Smith, Zach Wormhoudt, Anthony Tashnick and Shane Desmond. If Slater or any of the other 24 drop out, it could include a few more locals. Tyler Fox of Santa Cruz is the first alternate, and four more Santa Cruzans are on the 17-surfer alternate list.

Santa Cruz surfers won the first four Maverick’s contests, including three in a row by Darryl “Flea” Virostko, who has retired and now serves with Clark on the committee to pick the contest swell. Grant Baker of South Africa broke that stretch in 2006, followed by Greg Long of San Clemente in 2008. Chris Bertish of South Africa won the last contest, in 2010.

“The lineup is the best in the world,” Clark said. “Always my goal is to put the competition above where you live. This is an elite-class competition. You have to earn your right to be in the competition by vote of your peers.”

Just the facts:

Mavericks Invitational

WHEN: The contest starts at 8 a.m. Sunday.
WHERE: A public festival with a live surfing broadcast on big screens will take place on the grounds of the Oceano Hotel & Spa at 280 Capistrano Road, Half Moon Bay.
COST: $10 in advance or $20 at the door. Parking is $15 at the Half Moon Bay Airport, 3850 Cabrillo Highway.


Heat 1: Peter Mel*, Dave Wassel, Mark Healey, Kelly Slater, Ken ‘Skindog’ Collins*, Rusty Long
Heat 2: Chris Bertish, Jamie Sterling, Grant Washburn, Shawn Dollar*, Nathan Fletcher, Matt Ambrose
Heat 3: Tyler Smith*, Ryan Augenstein*, Zach Wormhoudt*, Shane Dorian, Greg Long, Ryan Seelbach
Heat 4: Alex Martins, Anthony Tashnick*, Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker, Ben Wilkinson, Carlos Burle, Shane Desmond*
*Santa Cruz surfers

SOURCE: Mavericks Invitational

-Bill at

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