With the Mavericks Surf Contest wave watch slated to begin two months earlier than last year, San Mateo County officials are holding a
public meeting Wednesday night to discuss plans to safely manage crowds at the popular event.
The meeting will be held Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Oceano Hotel at 280 Capistrano Road in Half Moon Bay. Representatives from the San Mateo County sheriff's office, San Mateo County Harbor District, California Highway Patrol and event organizers will be available to answer questions from residents.
The waves of the Mavericks surf break are about a quarter-mile from Pillar Point Harbor. The crowds of 40,000 anticipated at this year's event means clogged roadways and potential safety hazards.
Spectators who want a good view of the action would be better off avoiding the nearby beaches and cliffs altogether and instead watching from home, said Matt Jacobs, a spokesman for San Mateo County Supervisor Rich Gordon.
"It's a better view online," he said. "You can't see much and there are a lot of people out there, a lot of cars, and a lot of time getting
to and from the area."
Mavericks Surf Ventures, the company that organizes the event, is arranging a live feed to be shown at AT&T Park, and the contest can also be viewed online via high-definition webcast, Mavericks CEO Keir Beadling said.
"We want to really discourage people from the notion they have to come down to Mavericks to really experience this," he said.
The famous surf event draws contestants from around the world, who show up to compete with just 24 hours' notice.
This year, the contest window opens Nov. 1. The 2008-09 contest window opened Jan. 1, later than usual due to diminished sponsorships,
contest founder Jeff Clark said.
Last year, the window closed March 31 without a sufficient swell and the contest didn't happen.
Clark is no longer associated with the competition due to "strong differences in opinion" about the direction of the event, he said.