Mavericks Invitational surf contest to be held Sunday near Half Moon Bay

AP File PhotoThe Mavericks Invitational near Half Moon Bay hasn’t been held since 2010 because the ideal waves never materialized during the contest window.

AP File PhotoThe Mavericks Invitational near Half Moon Bay hasn’t been held since 2010 because the ideal waves never materialized during the contest window.

Twenty-four big-wave surfers will paddle a half-mile out into the frigid waters off Pillar Point on Sunday to compete in the Mavericks Invitational.

Contest organizers announced Wednesday that the approaching swell will create conditions in which they can hold the contest off the coast of Half Moon Bay.

“It feels really good to be moving toward a contest with a big swell coming,” said contest organizer Jeff Clark, who is one of the first people to ever surf Mavericks.

Clark said the swell looks like it could produce 30- to 40-foot waves Sunday.

“It is going to be big and powerful,” Clark said.

Shawn Dollar, a competitor in the contest and the surfers’ representative, said in a statement that the swell could offer perfect conditions.

“This is a very powerful swell, and we will have dramatic conditions that will push the competitors to their limits,” Dollar said. “Sunday is going to be beautiful and very scary at times.”

In the past, the contest has been called with just 24 hours’ notice given to contestants, who fly in from all over the world to compete in the invite-only contest.

The past few contests were canceled because wave conditions did not materialize during the window for the event. The event has been canceled several times since it started in 1999. The last time the contest was held, in 2010, Chris Bertish of South Africa emerged as the winner after taking on waves that were 50 to 60 feet tall when measured on their faces.

The contest, which has also been the center of legal fighting over ownership, is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Sunday. People looking to catch a glimpse of the event are encouraged to attend the Mavericks Invitational Festival at the Oceano Hotel and Spa. The festival will offer video streaming of the event with commentary from an announcer. The awards ceremony will be held at the festival.

For safety reasons, law enforcement will close the roads to Pillar Point, and they will deny access to the beach and the bluff above the surfing spot during the contest.

Mavericks Invitational

  • WHEN: Sunday, 8 a.m.
  • WHERE: Half Moon Bay
  • WHERE TO WATCH: Mavericks Invitational Festival, 280 Capistrano Road, Half Moon Bay; event will also be streamed online
  • TICKETS: $10 advance general admission, $20 at the event; prices range to $1,000 for event packages
  • INFO:

Bay Area NewsHalf Moon BayMavericksPeninsulasports

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

Just Posted

Organizer Jas Florentino, left, explains the figures which represent 350 kidnapped Africans first sold as slaves in the United States in 1619 in sculptor Dana King’s “Monumental Reckoning.” The installation is in the space of the former Francis Scott Key monument in Golden Gate Park. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What a reparations program would look like in The City

‘If there’s any place we can do it, it’s San Francisco’

Officer Joel Babbs at a protest outside the Hall of Justice in 2017 (Bay City News file photo)
The strange and troubling story of Joel Babbs: What it tells us about the SFPD

The bizarre and troubling career of a whistle-blowing San Francisco police officer… Continue reading

Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a COVID-19 update at the City College of San Francisco mass vaccination site in April. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Gavin Newsom under COVID: The governor dishes on his pandemic life

By Emily Hoeven CalMatters It was strange, after 15 months of watching… Continue reading

People fish at a dock at Islais Creek Park on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What Islais Creek tells us about rising sea levels in San Francisco

Islais Creek is an unassuming waterway along San Francisco’s eastern industrial shoreline,… Continue reading

Deputy public defender Chris Garcia outside the Hall of Justice on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
As pandemic wanes, SF public defender hopes clients will get ‘their day in court’

Like other attorneys in San Francisco, Deputy Public Defender Chris Garcia has… Continue reading

Most Read