Surfers arrive for Mavericks big-wave surf competition

Friday, February 12, 2016
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In San Mateo County there was a calm mood before Friday's Titans of Mavericks big-wave surf competition gets underway.

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KGO) -- In San Mateo County there was a calm before the storm. It's where the Titans of Mavericks surfing competition will be held - starting Friday morning. The waves are estimated to be 20-40 feet high.

Near Pillar Point and the famous Mavericks break, this was a day without a lot of surfing or surfers.

Hiker Sandy Neet told us how many surfers she saw today. She said, "One. He was just sitting there. Didn't surf at all..."

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So where were the surfers? They were at a nearby hotel, Thursday morning, talking about surfing on Friday.

Many see the Mavericks big-wave surf contest as a realty big deal. It is a combination of long anticipation and short notice for 24 athletes who are given 48 hours to arrive from all four corners of this otherwise round world.

Lucky for Zach Wormhoudt, he's local. He said, "You just paddle out hoping to get one..."

RELATED: Surfer talks about wipeout on massive wave at Mavericks

Jeff Clark first surfed the now famous Mavericks break in 1975. He spent Thursday applying finishing touches to surfboards for some surfers who left home in such a hurry they couldn't travel with their own surfboards. They simply had to get to the competition in time.

Clark said the area is packed and all hotels were booked up. The event is a big kick-starter for local businesses in this otherwise slow local season.

The twist is this event no longer allows spectators on the beach or the bluff after 13 people were injured in 2010's tournament by a rogue wave.

"We're really discouraging people [to come to the shore] because we don't want to talk to families about what happened to their loved ones," Deputy Harbormaster Cary Smith said.

People should expect no access to the beach or roads to the beach. If you want to watch the event, it will be streamed here.

Also the Harbor Bar they'll have the action up for people to watch.

Just last month, we got a preview of the real thing. Huge waves were breaking at Mavericks on Jan. 7, and world-renowned big wave surfer Garrett McNamara wiped out, breaking his arm.

Click here for details on the upcoming competition.