Bay Area's world-famous Mavericks contest called for Friday

David Louie Image
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
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The world-famous Titans of Mavericks surf competition is on for Friday in Half Moon Bay. But the waves are expected to be so high that organizers are discouraging spectators from going to see it.

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KGO) -- The world-famous Titans of Mavericks surf competition is on for Friday. The announcement was made early Tuesday to give entrants a chance to fly in from as far away as South Africa. They're predicting 30 foot or higher waves, kicked up by El Nino out at sea.

The surf is tame now, but by Friday a storm out at sea will churn up the water and create waves 30 to 40 feet high. Twenty-four hand-picked competitors will go for the glory of conquering the big waves and a share of a $100,000 prize pot.

RELATED: Surfer talks about wipeout on massive wave at Mavericks

"Mavericks garners respect all over the world," said Mavericks organizer and founder Jeff Clark. "And everybody that has big wave genes in their system is here surfing Mavericks."

With surf that high, spectators will be banned for the beach and a nearby cliff. Many bars and restaurants will show a live webcast. The capacity at the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company is 450.

When asked if she has enough help for Friday, Danielle Martinez with the brewing company said, "Yes. As soon as we heard the contest was hitting, they've already been staffing up and making sure we are good to go."

San Mateo resident Alan Root has given up surfing, but recalls the rush of 40-foot waves.

RELATED: Surfers hit El Nino-fueled waves at Mavericks

"Even though you're only going about 40 miles an hour, it seems like you're doing 100," he said. "There's such a powerful feeling about that water pushing you."

Waves draw many kinds of surfers. El Granada resident Nolan Alcaraz doesn't aspire to ride the big waves.

"I mean, I grew up surfing," he said. "You either want that or you don't. I'm like eh, I'm not risking injury for the surf myself, just for fun."

Over 6.5 hours on Friday, the field of 24 will be narrowed to just one.

Central Valley resident Anne Klutts, 85, is leaving her wetsuit at home. She joked, "You know, I really did try one, they're the pits to get into."

A voice of experience.

The window for the world famous Mavericks surfing contest opens up Nov. 1 and goes through March 31, 2016. When the call goes out, 24 of the best conditioned big wave surfing professionals will take on the mountains of water that can reach up to 60 feet high. The last contest was held in 2014.

Click here for details on the upcoming competition.