Environmentalists concerned about surf contest

As surf competitors face 20 to 35 foot wave faces Saturday in Half Moon Bay, environmentalists are urging spectators to protect the delicate ecological region from where they will be viewing the world-renowned Mavericks Surf Competition.

The competition starts at 8 a.m. with 24 of the world's best big wave surfers paddling out to sea. They come from as far as Australia, South Africa and Brazil to catch the monster waves. There will be four initial heats with six surfers, followed by the semi-finals and finals.

The Half Moon Bay Coastside Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau is expecting between 35,000 and 40,000 people to descend on the region to watch the contest.

An unpleasant aspect to the contest is the lack of adequate viewing areas, according to Chamber President and CEO Charise McHugh.

Spectators must park and walk to the bluffs. Unfortunately, the bluff area is also home to a bird refuge so visitors must stay in designated areas.

McHugh has said that if the refuge starts to get trampled there may not be a surf contest anymore.

Officials from the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary have also issued restrictions for vessels and aircraft that are taping or viewing the surf contest. In order not to disturb the variety of federally protected marine mammals and sea birds in the area, boats should stay at least a quarter mile from shore, and aircrafts should maintain at least 2,000 feet in altitude.

Contest organizers have joined with eco-friendly food maker Clif Bar & Co. to help make the contest environmentally friendly and ensure that it continues, according to the contest Web site. There will be eco-stations

on the bluffs where competitors and spectators can recycle bottles and properly dispose of other trash, and vendors and contest organizers will be using renewable energy sources.

There are also a variety of ways to watch the contest without braving the elements at Half Moon Bay, according to contest organizers. A live feed will be available on the contest Web site, http://www.maverickssurf.com, or surf enthusiasts can attend a viewing party being held at AT&T Park in San Francisco. A life feed will be shown on the centerfield scoreboard and will run for the duration of the contest.

Last year the contest was canceled due to poor weather conditions and a lack of large swells.

The Mavericks Surf Contest began in February 1999. Each year the window for the contest runs for three to four months. During that time surfers are on-call for when the “perfect” system passes through. When that happens, competitors are given 48 hours to get to Half Moon Bay for the start of the competition.

Bay City News

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have taken different approaches to transit and infrastructure funding. <ins>(Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)</ins>
Bay Area transit has big hopes for a Biden administration

The best chance for local agencies to get relief may be a change in federal leadership

BART Ambassadors are being called on to assist riders in social situations that don’t require police force. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Unarmed BART ambassadors program formalized with a focus on community service

Public safety and police reform are key elements in campaigns of Board members Dufty and Simon

San Francisco DJ and producer Jah Yzer livestreams most mornings from his home. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Roots & Tings build community through music

Lateef the Truthspeaker, Jah Yzer and Winstrong call for voting as a form of healing

Lee Vining and Inyo National Forest are excellent fall color tour destinations. (Matt Johanson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Gold Rush: Go now to see Sierra fall color

Maples, oaks, dogwoods, aspens glow in the next few weeks

On Oct. 13, people lined up to vote early for the presidential election in Southlake, Texas. <ins>(Shutterstock)</ins>
<ins></ins>
Five things to watch for in the run-up to Nov. 3

Down-ballot races, as much as the presidency, will determine the future course of this nation

Most Read