It's all about "the call." There is no official date set for the event, so organizers follow the forecast and wait for the perfect weather and wave conditions, which may coincide with a high surf advisory set for this weekend.
Promising waves are making their way to shore. Organizers say it takes many factors to make the perfect peaks at Mavericks and any given winter that could mean really just one or two contest-worthy days.
The last Mavericks competition was January of last year. The Mavericks Surf Invitational drew 24 A-list surfers from around the world and along with it, came thousands of dollars' worth of business from those attending the competition.
The last-minute call means everyone has to move quickly.
"It means we have to pull everything together in a short amount of time. There's about 30,000 people that'll make it out in this area and we have a lot of planning to do to make sure we can handle all that influx of people," said Nate Rey from the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company.
Big crowds get crammed into one area. This year's event, like the last, will have safety protocols in place.
At the competition in 2010, a big wave washed up on spectators, injuring a few and washing away equipment on the beach. As a result, spectators are no longer allowed on the beach; they have to watch from one of the viewing areas or nearby businesses.