Opening ceremonies to launch Mavericks surf contest Friday

HALF MOON BAY, Calif.

Around 100 people attended last year's ceremony at Maverick's Beach near Pillar Point Harbor in San Mateo County, contest spokeswoman Jessica Banks said.

The opening ceremony, which is open to the public, takes place on the beach and is followed by a paddle-out and prayer circle in the water, according to organizers.

"The opening ceremony is our annual 'gathering of the tribe' -- a chance to get together before the season opens," contest director Jeff Clark said in a statement.

"It's a more relaxed atmosphere than contest day and gives the fans, surfers and local kids a chance to meet the competitors and join them for the ceremonial paddle-out," Clark said.

An international roster of 24 surfers are signed up for the annual competition, which can take place anytime between Nov. 1 and March 31, 2014. Surfers are given as little as 24 hours notice of when conditions are right for the competition to begin.

Mavericks is a surfing break around a half-mile off the coast near Pillar Point Harbor known for producing huge waves.

Event information can be found at mavericksinvitational.com.

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