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Mavericks surfers could vote to hold contest Friday

Tyler Smith rides, in red, rides a big wave during the Mavericks Surf Contest in Half Moon Bay, Calif., on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2006. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

January 4, 2010 1:49:05 PM PST
Surfers worldwide are keeping their eyes on a swell materializing in the Pacific Ocean that, if its direction changes slightly, could allow the annual Mavericks Surf Contest near Half Moon Bay to happen Friday, a contest official said Monday morning.

"We're all keeping our fingers crossed," contest co-director Katherine Clark said. "Right now, this particular swell is looking to be in the wrong direction, but we just don't know until they get a little closer."

The 24 surfers chosen from around the world to compete in the contest will decide within the next 24 to 48 hours whether to vote on holding the contest Friday, Clark said.

In the past, it was up to former contest director Jeff Clark to decide whether to hold the contest, but this year the surfers decided they wanted to vote as a whole instead.

"Everybody's excited to have it happen," Katherine Clark said. "When (the swells) are so far out, there's so many variables."

Contest officials received a report this morning that the swell might be too far south, "but we're still keeping an eye on it," Clark said.

"If it shows signs of being something worthy, then there could be a vote in 48 hours," she said.

She said contest officials begin tracking the swells off the coast of Japan as they travel to the West Coast.

Since the contest window opened Nov. 1, there have been about half a dozen swells that surfers considered for the contest, including this one.

Ideal conditions for the competition would be 20-foot waves, Clark said.


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