Forecast of rain, wind delays Mavericks competition

Big-wave enthusiasts will have to wait a little longer to get their Mavericks fix, as poor weather conditions put the legendary surfing Half Moon Bay contest in limbo.

The 24 surfers chosen to participate were expected to vote Sunday on whether they wanted to compete Tuesday. But a forecast of rain and wind spoiled the plan, prompting the surfers to call off the vote entirely.

The Mavericks Surf Contest — which draws top surfers from around the world who are given just 24 hours notice to compete — is known for having a sensitive relationship with the weather. The last scheduled event was canceled because sufficient waves never developed. It was the third cancellation since the contest began in 1998.

In an effort to prevent a fourth wipeout, organizers this year extended the contest window to five months, starting in November instead of January. It still ends March 31.

Organizers indicated that Wednesday is the next potential day to hold the competition, but co-Director Katherine Clark said that suggestion should be taken with a grain of salt.

“Mildly said, it looks very favorable every single day,” she said.

Half Moon Bay Mayor Marina Fraser said city residents are used to being on edge about when the big crowds will come to their small town.

“We’re always very excited to see the Mavericks go off,” she said. “Some years we’re disappointed, but the contest window has opened early and we did get really good waves in November.”

The 24 surfers come from as far away as Brazil, South Africa and the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, to take on the mammoth waves and compete for the $150,000 in prize money.

But the surfers aren’t sitting idly by waiting for strong Pacific storms to make Mavericks-worthy waves.

Clark said she thinks about nine of the two dozen surfers are hanging out in Hawaii right now — “where the waves are.”

kkelkar@sfexaminer.com

 

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