Storm boosts Mavericks' odds

A storm brewing far off the coast could bring big swells to California beaches within the next month — and with it some of the world’s best big-wave riders for the Mavericks Surf Contest held near Half Moon Bay, the contest organizer said.

Keir Beadling, Mavericks Surf Ventures CEO, said if the still image of the storm he received continues to grow as it gets closer to the California coast, the competition could start in the weeks ahead.

“I think it’s fair to say the Pacific is active,” he said. “I would not be surprised if we have a contest this month.”

The competition — which draws top surfers from around the world who are given just 24 hours notice to compete — was canceled last year because sufficient waves never developed.

The contest window historically had started later in the season, however, running January through April.

Beadling said he and other competition sponsors discussed ways to improve the likelihood of having the competition. Moving the contest-window start date to

Nov. 1 was one decision made.

Last year, according to Beadling, there were phenomenal swells around Thanksgiving, therefore moving the window for competition up could be beneficial.

“We have never opened the window up that early,” he said. “But it could put us in the best position to have a contest.”

Half Moon Bay Mayor John Muller said he hopes sufficient waves hit the coast.

“Those guys are our modern-day sailors,” he said. “We do love our waves off the coast. We are hoping for bigger and better waves for the surfers.”

Muller is happy to see visitors flock to the coastal city, but he said he also wants spectators to respect Half Moon Bay’s surroundings when it comes to parking. The Mavericks site is about a quarter-mile from Pillar Point Harbor. Crowds of about 40,000 are expected, based on attendance from previous years.

“We just ask that they be mindful of the residents and the natural habitat around them,” Muller said.

El Niño, a warm weather system in the Pacific that increases rainfall in the U.S., could also play a part in the type of waves hitting the coast, Beadling said.

“The odds of having a contest are better in El Niño years,” he said.

Mavericks Surf Ventures is also arranging a live feed to be shown at AT&T Park, and the contest can also be viewed online through a live webcast.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

Watching the Mavericks Surf Contest

Twenty-four of the world’s best big-wave riders will head to the site near Half Moon Bay — with 24 hours to get there — when swells are sufficient enough.

  • The official 2009-10 contest window opens today and runs until March 31
  • With the “It’s On!” SMS campaign, fans can sign up to receive a text message alert as soon as the contest green light is given (text “MAVERICKS” to 81595)
  • As part of its ongoing efforts to reduce foot traffic at the event and entice fans to experience the contest remotely, Mavericks will offer live webcast footage of the surfers on the Internet
  • Fans will also have the option of watching the contest on their mobile devices via FLO TV
  • The day’s activities will also be available via a live webcast at AT&T Park in San Francisco

Source: Mavericks Surf Ventures

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