This year’s Mavericks Surf Contest potentially could be held earlier than ever before.
With a storm brewing off the California coast that’s expected to bring the necessary big waves, surfers could be called to Half Moon Bay as early as Tuesday, organizers said.
“There are definitely some serious swells,” said Katherine Clark, co-director of Mavericks. “I’m totally keeping my fingers crossed.”
Clark said if the swells hold up, the 24 competitors could vote Sunday on whether to call the competition.
Rules for the competition changed this year. Instead of the director monitoring the ocean and calling the contest, the competitors will vote 24 to 48 hours ahead of potential swells. Once a majority of surfers vote to hold the contest, competitors have 24 hours to get to
Half Moon Bay.
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.
Last year’s competition was never held because the right waves never came. Before deciding to open the contest window Nov. 1 this year, it usually started Jan. 1.
Clark said competitors and organizers look for the “whole package” when considering giving the green light for the contest.
“We want no wind, clear skies and the right size waves,” she said.
If called, it will be one of the earliest contests Mavericks has ever held, according to Keir Beadling, CEO of Mavericks Surf Ventures.
He said the competitors had a vote last month on a storm, but decided against surfing in hopes of getting something better.
“I’m optimistic, but it’s up to these 24 guys and their expertise,” Beadling said. “If that projected storm hits as a model says, it will be some pretty epic stuff.”
According to the National Weather Service, a series of storms will be coming through the Bay Area beginning Monday.
Meteorologist Steve Anderson said the best potential swells can be expected Wednesday or Thursday, after the peak of the storms.
“Waves travel slower than the storm,” he said.
Anderson said the swells are currently 17 feet high, but could become larger.
On a big screen: AT&T Park
On a boat: Three hours; close to waves and contestants
On the beach:
-Getting there: From the North Bay or Central Coast, Highway 1 is the best route; take the South Capistrano exit in El Granada to get into town, and proceed to the marked parking lots at the Pillar Point Harbor or Half Moon Bay Airport; from the Peninsula, East Bay or South Bay, take Highway 92 to Highway 1
-Parking: Available at the Half Moon Bay Airport for $15; Princeton-by-the-Sea is closed to all nonresident and nonbusiness vehicles during the contest
n-Watching: Binoculars may help spectators see the surfers, as the breaks are far from shore