Mavericks organizers announce participants

December 24, 2008 9:25:02 AM PST
Mavericks Surf Contest officials have announced the 24 surfers invited to participate in the 2009 contest just north of Half Moon Bay, scheduled to take place sometime between Jan. 1 and March 31, contest director Jeff Clark said.

The contestants have just 24 hours to arrive once the date for the contest is announced.

The perfect contest day entails waves around 30 or 40 feet tall, but in the past contestants have endured waves up to 80 feet, according to Clark. The competition was first held in 1999.

In addition to the 24 contestants selected, 15 alternates have been named, Clark said.

A complete list of the contestants and alternates can be found at www.maverickssurf.com.

Around 50,000 spectators and media are expected to crowd the cliffs and ocean waters during the contest, and marine sanctuary officials and contest organizers are working together to ensure minimal impact at the contest site.

Staff from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries are cooperating with managers of the winter big-wave surfing competition to ensure "zero environmental and wildlife impact," according to the NOAA.

The contest, which begins on 24-hour notice when the infamous wave-break a quarter-mile offshore from Pillar Point is heightened by winter storms, takes place within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Federally protected sea mammals and birds typically migrate through near sanctuary waters during storm events that create peak surfing conditions for the competition.

International media on location to film and photograph the contest from sea vessels and aircraft are reminded by NOAA officials to travel through sensitive marine habitat without approaching marine mammals and birds and that citations and fines will be levied on violators.

Land spectators are asked to remain one-quarter mile from the edge of coastal cliffs and above an altitude of 2,000 feet, for their own safety and that of marine life habitat on beaches and lodged within the cliff walls.

To safely accommodate large crowds and offset some of their environmental impact, Mavericks organizers have established a free live webcast at http://www.myspace.com/maverickssurf.

There will also be a live simulcast viewing party at AT&T Park in San Francisco, according to contest officials.


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