Despite tiny waves, Maverick’s may prevail

The time is ticking for the Maverick’s surf competition to be called.

The window for the annual surf contest that takes place at a moment’s notice — giving competitors 24 hours notice to arrive at the surf spot off the coast of Half Moon Bay — officially closes Feb. 28. Organizers, though, are hopeful the contest will be held.

“Mother Nature is unpredictable and we are hopeful she will serve up some solid waves in these next few weeks,” said Kylie Heintz, spokeswoman for the contest.

The swells have been “less than stellar,” according to forecasters for the competition. The La Niña weather pattern, which historically brings fewer storms to California, is to blame, surf forecasters say.

According to the National Weather Service, Half Moon Bay is expected to remain sunny and in the 60s through today.

The contest invites 24 surfers to participate in the one-day competition.

Insufficient waves kept the competition from happening in 2007 and 2009. In 2010, organizers increased the contest window to call the competition by four weeks to allow for a higher chance of happening.

Chris Bertish took the crown as winner of the competition in 2010. The winner takes away $150,000 and the rights to say they conquered the massive waves.

This time, the window opened Dec. 1.

The wave competition, though, has had its share of controversy. Last year, a sneaker wave — known because of its unpredictability — wiped spectators off a rock as they watched the competition from the shore. As a result spectators will be banned from the shore if the competition is called in the next three weeks.

And last month, surfer Jacob Trette nearly drowned when he was caught in the surf by a 20-foot wave near where the Maverick’s competition is held.

This year, the competition was renamed The Jay at Maverick’s Big Wave Invitational in memory of late big-wave surfer Jay Moriarty. It was formerly known as the Mavericks Surf Contest.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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