Disappointment as Mavericks surf contest fizzles out


Mother Nature hasn't created the swells needed for a world-class surf competition this winter. The water's so flat that on Monday, there wasn't a surfer in sight. So Mavericks isn't going to happen this year.

"It's a shame that it's not happening. We have to wait a whole nother year? It's too bad," said Half Moon Bay resident Joan Cvitanich.

It's a far cry from last winter when Pacific storms produced several opportunities.

"Last season we voted four different times. There were so many different swells coming through, so many days that the guys had to surf that we actually voted four different times, and the fourth time produced us a fantastic event. This year we haven't voted once," said Mavericks co-producer Katherine Clark.

Those conditions also produced a rogue wave that injured 13 spectators and hospitalized three. This year, new rules were to bar spectators from the shore, forcing them to watch on TV instead. However, those plans turned into a wipe-out.

"With this year and La Nina the water is colder so we don't get as many of those giant storms like we did last year," said Mavericks contest founder Jeff Clark.

Small shops and restaurants near the contest site are equally disappointed. They will lose the wave of business created by spectators.

"With this restaurant, close to 2,000 people would come in and get some breakfast and lunch and coffee and stuff like that. It is a lot of money," said Victor Novello from Café Capistrano.

The permit for Mavericks expires next Monday and it can't be extended.

"There's going to be some major construction going on in the harbor area, so they were concerned that having the event at the same time the construction was going on would be really difficult and complicated," said Katherine.

The loss of Mavericks this year means the parking lots, stores, and restaurants won't be as full as they might have been and that has a serious consequence. The University of Hawaii said Mavericks has an economic impact of $24 million.

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