Mavericks surf competition next week? Officials monitoring approaching huge swell 'very closely'

ByBrandon Behle KGO logo
Monday, March 11, 2019
Mavericks officials watching huge swell next week 'very closely'
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With 30 to 40-foot waves headed toward the infamous Mavericks surf spot the Bay Area big wave surf competition could be making a comeback in a matter of days.

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KGO) -- After a one year absence, the Mavericks big wave surf competition could be coming back the Bay Area in less than a week.

A large swell is projected to bring 30-40 foot waves to the Half Moon Bay surf spot on Monday, December 17th.

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The World Surf League, who now runs the competition and renamed it the Mavericks Challenge, confirmed to ABC7 News via twitter Monday afternoon: "We're monitoring the swell very closely!"

The WSL says that the weather conditions at Mavericks have to be good and the waves have to be at least 25 feet tall for the competition to get the green light.

The big wave surf community is Half Moon Bay is also getting excited about the approaching swell.

A representative from the Mavericks Surf Ship says the swell 'looks very good' and feels like there's a good chance of the competition happening.

However, they hedged that statement by saying that the conditions have to continue to improve and that we would have a better idea of how things look on Wednesday or Thursday.

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The World Surf League says it will give a "yellow alert" 4 days in advance if the competition could happen. The official word that the competition is happening will come 48 hours before the competition.

The 2018-2019 Mavericks Challenge window runs from Nov. 1, 2018, until March 31, 2019.

The big wave contest did not run last season due to poor weather conditions.

RELATED: Window for Mavericks Challenge surfing contest closes

One Mavericks surf expert says that a December contest would be unusual because it's early in the surf season.

The competition has been held 10 times and never in December. The earliest the competition has happened was on Jan. 12, 2008; most of the time it's held in February or March.

World Surf League forecaster said the odds of the competition happening this year are good.

"A weak El Nino should help fuel the jet stream, but it's slow in coming so later in the season is probably a better option," wrote Mark Sponsler.

When this year's competition does happen it will make history.

RELATED: Mavericks Challenge surf competition approved, now including women surfers

It will be the first time that a women's big wave competition will be held at the infamous surf spot near Pillar Point harbor.

The women's champion will also get equal prize money to the men's champion, $20,000.

The addition of a women's competition was one of the new provisions made when the World Surf League took over the permit in 2017 after the previous organizers, Cartel Management Inc., filed for bankruptcy.

RELATED: Titans of Mavericks organizers file for bankruptcy

Cartel held the last Mavericks competition, then-called 'Titans of Mavericks' in February of 2016.