Mavericks Invitational surf contest officials have set opening ceremonies for Friday and are eagerly awaiting contest-worthy waves.
Contest Director Jeff Clark said surfers have been enjoying big waves this week after a slow early-season start.
The 24 competitors, 17 alternates, and surfing fans are invited to the opening ceremony and paddle out at 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6, at Mavericks beach. Friday is not the official contest day, but wave watchers expect morning surfing at Mavericks.
In the Hawaiian tradition, surfers paddle out to the water and form a prayer circle to commemorate the event, show respect to fellow surfers and those who have died.
When monster waves roll in, surf experts will call the contest, giving invitees and spectators only 24-hours notice to get to the famed surf spot for the day-long contest. The contest window runs through March 31.
Three days into the contest window, organizers haven't yet announced a major sponsor or a prize purse. The opening of the contest window was delayed a month because, organizers said, the waves hadn't materialized.
Competitor support and judging will take place in the water. This year, contest organizers say there will be no beach access: no scaffolding on the beach and San Mateo County Sheriff's Office, California State Parks and other agencies will restrict public access to the beach and bluffs. Just how they will accomplish that remains to be seen. Contest organizers have scheduled a Thursday public meeting to discuss public safety measures.
This year, organizers plan a festival on the grounds of Oceano Hotel and Spa where the contest will be streamed on large screens. They say there will be live music, refreshments, and after the contest, an awards ceremony with opportunities to meet the competitors.
Tickets for the festival start at $25 in advance. Organizers say tickets will be limited to 12,000. Paid parking will be available at Half Moon Bay Airport, with proceeds benefiting Boys and Girls Club of the Coastside.
Check out MavericksInvitational.com for more information.