Monster waves expected for Mavericks Surf Contest

January 18, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The U.S. Coast Guard is discouraging spectators at the Mavericks Invitational Surf Contest from viewing the big wave competition from the water due to hazardous and unpredictable surf expected near Pillar Point on Sunday.

The view from SKY7 HD of the ocean off Pillar Point showed a fairly calm sea. But according to the founder of the world famous surfing competition, the calm won't last long. Jeff Clark has been keeping an eye on satellite forecast models of the 20 to 30 foot swells expected to hit Mavericks Sunday.

"Now I can go six hours ahead and you can see them start to move towards our coast," Clark said. A storm in Japan four days ago, 3,000 miles away, is what makes him excited about Sunday's competition. "It will put these guys on their edge," Clark said. "They'll have to bring a game to surf these waves."

The last competition here was in 2010. 24 of the world's best surfers come here to compete in this event and some wipe out spectacularly.

"This has been a dream of mine since I was a boy and it's coming true," said surfer Ben Wilkinson. The 30-year-old is competing for the first time this year. He says he's been surfing since he was a toddler and now he gets to surf with his heroes.

The competition attracts tens of thousands of people. But this year no one gets to go out to the beach because of a wave that washed ashore in 2010, wiping out and injuring more than a dozen people.

"This year we have plans in place to limit access to the beach and make it a safer environment for the spectator," said San Mateo Deputy John Gonzales.

Instead, people will be able to watch the competition on big screens in the parking lot of the Oceano Hotel.

The tens of thousands of spectators expected for the event will bring an economic boost to Half Moon Bay. Liz Knier owns the Princeton Pantry. She's set up tour boats since no one can go to the beach.

"All I have left are the smallest boats, and they want the most money, so you'd have to pay $500," Knier said.

The contest will be streamed online for those who cannot attend the festival.

The last Mavericks contest was held on Feb. 12, 2010.

THE COMPETITORS

  • Matt Ambrose
  • RyanAugenstein
  • Grant "Twiggy" Baker
  • Chris Bertish
  • Carlos Burle
  • Ken "Skindog" Collins
  • Shane Desmond
  • Shawn Dollar
  • Shane Dorian
  • Nathan Fletcher
  • Mark Healey
  • Rusty Long
  • Greg Long
  • Alex Martins
  • Peter Mel
  • Ryan Seelbach
  • Kelly Slater
  • Tyler Smith
  • Jamie Sterling
  • Anthony Tashnick
  • Grant Washburn
  • Dave Wassel
  • Ben Wilkinson
  • Zach Wormhoudt

THE ALTERNATES
1. Tyler Fox (Santa Cruz)
2. Josh Loya (Santa Cruz)
3. Colin Dwyer (Pacifica)
4. Nic Lamb (Santa Cruz)
5. Danilo Couto (Brazil)
6. Derek Dunfee (San Diego)
7. Ben Andrews (San Francisco)
8. Andrew Marr (South Africa)
9. Travis Payne (Pacifica)
10. Ion Banner (Half Moon Bay)
11. Kohl Christensen (Hawaii)
12. Shawn Rhodes (Pacifica)
13. Mike Gerhardt (Santa Cruz)
14. Garret McNamara (Hawaii)
15. Russel Smith (Santa Cruz)
16. Jamie Mitchel (Australia)
17. Frank Solomon (South Africa)


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