Quantcast

Wednesday, July 23, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 4 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

World's best big wave surfers compete at Mavericks

By Jason Dearen

Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 04:54 a.m. HST, Jan 21, 2013


Photo Gallery: Super Bowl of surfing

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. » As swells lumbered across the Pacific toward Northern California, nearly two dozen of the world's best big wave surfers went to meet them on Sunday, a half-mile offshore at the famed surfing break known as Mavericks.

For the first time since 2010, the Mavericks Invitational surf contest — which requires wave faces of at least 20 feet — got under way at the bone-crushing break that has claimed the lives of two expert big wave surfers.

Wave forecasters this week saw an excellent mixture of swell, wind, tide and sunny skies, though the waves this morning were not quite as big as expected.

Contestant Tyler Smith said there were long waits between sets of waves, but there were some good rides for the patient.

"You just have to be in the right place at the right time," said Smith.

Once the decision was made to run the contest, the call went out to the surfers, giving them a couple of days to pack their boards and wetsuits, and hop a plane.

Surfing the wave at Mavericks is a feat that takes athletic skill, experience and nerve.

The swells travel through deep water for five days before hitting a small, finger-like section of shallow reef that juts out into the sea.

When the swell meets the reef, the wave jumps upward and crashes back down with a fury, eventually washing through a section of craggy rocks.

The takeoff is often so steep that the surfers' big-wave "gun" surfboards leave the wave face, forcing the surfers to land near the bottom and make a quick turn before being pummeled by the wave's lip.

The spot — named after the dog of Jeff Clark, who is credited with being the first to surf Mavericks — has earned a nasty reputation. Mark Foo, a legendary big-wave surfer from Hawaii, died while surfing Mavericks in 1994. In 2011, another seasoned waterman, Sion Milosky, died there just weeks after another surfer nearly drowned.

This year's contest will be different: spectators are forbidden access to the beach or bluffs. After a large set of waves crashed into the crowd in 2010, injuring dozens, local officials barred crowds from congregating there.

Also, people congregating on the bluffs and along tide pools during previous contests caused environmental damage.

This year organizers have set up a festival at a nearby hotel, featuring a large screen that will broadcast the surfing live. The surfers will hold the awards ceremony there at the end of the contest.

The Coast Guard has issued a high surf advisory for the weekend, and is warning people throughout the region to watch for "sneaker waves" and other hazards.






 Print   Email   Comment | View 4 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

COMMENTS
(4)
You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
false wrote:
waves are small....good thing we have FOOTBALL today..
on January 20,2013 | 07:25AM
Tony96822 wrote:
Was trying to watch for 50 minutes but no waves came through. Pray for surf but look forward to SF Vs. Atl. 49'ers all the way.
on January 20,2013 | 08:38AM
islandsun wrote:
Unless the Eddie will go this year.
on January 20,2013 | 11:42AM
dlum003 wrote:
the live webcast quality was horrible
on January 20,2013 | 12:19PM
IN OTHER NEWS