Mavericks to ride early

After a disappointing cancellation last season, the Mavericks Surf Contest is back in full swing with a four-month long window, starting Dec. 7, according to contest organizers.

Mavericks is a surf break just off the coast of Half Moon Bay, where 24 pre-picked surfers compete every year. According to contest director Jeff Clark, the season will start early this year due the excellent potential of the storm season. In previous years, the contest window ran from January through March.

This season “looks promising as we’ve already seen the first major swell roll through Half Moon Bay in mid-October,” Clark said.

Most surf contests have a specific day, but the Mavericks contest just sets a window of time so the contest can be held on a day when the conditions are just right.

“The perfect contest day we’re looking for is typically a northwest groundswell between 18 and 20 feet,” Clark said, which means wave faces of 30 feet to 40 feet.

According to contest organizers, the competition was canceled last year because acceptable ocean conditions never materialized.

Twenty-four surfers are invited to the contest, and when conditions are deemed perfect they will have 24 hours to get to Half Moon Bay. Surfers fly into the area from all over the world, according to contest organizers.

The winner of the contest will receive $30,000, while second place will get $12,000, third place will get $7,500, fourth place $3,5000, fifth place $2,500 and the sixth place will receive $1,500.

According to contest organizers, the entire competition will be broadcast over the Internet. Live viewing will be available the day of the event at AT&T Park in San Francisco through a Web cast that will be projected onto the ballpark screen.

— Bay City News

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