Organizers close to making call for Mavericks surf contest

A large west swell is heading toward the Northern California coast that forecasters expect will produce high surf, and for big-wave riders that means one thing: Mavericks could be coming.

Jeff Clark, director of the Body Glove Mavericks Invitational surf contest, said weather models over the past five days have indicated waves will be generated later this week that could be large enough to hold the popular competition — although, “They’re still pretty far away.”

If weather patterns and satellite imagery predict the waves will maintain their power, organizers could call Mavericks for Friday, he said.

“We have to have everything in place to get good, light winds and big waves,” he said of the announcement.

Mavericks draws elite surfers from across the globe to ride waves that can reach heights greater than 30 feet off the coast of Pillar Point near Half Moon Bay. Invited competitors are given 48 hours’ notice to attend the contest, which has a window from November through March in which it can be staged. The invitational was last held in January 2013.

San Francisco surfers Grant Washburn and Ryan Seelbach are among 24 elite competitors who have been asked to participate this year.

And this year, for the first time in its history, the final heats of Mavericks, through a partnership with Universal Sports Network, will be aired live on national TV. The entire contest also will stream live on universalsports.com and mavericksinvitational.com.

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