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Bummer, Dude: Mavericks Unlikely This Year

With the Mavericks window closing and no swells approaching, contest officials say it's unlikely the event will happen this year.

It's been a bummer of a winter for Mavericks surfers, and it looks like Mother Nature won't produce the conditions needed to hold the annual contest at the famed break this season, a contest spokeswoman said today.

"I don't see anything on the horizon," contest co-director Katherine Kelly Clark said.

The window for the Jay at Maverick's Big Wave Invitational, which takes place off the San Mateo County coast near Pillar Point Harbor, opened Dec. 1 and closes Feb. 28.

During that period, contest organizers monitored weather and water conditions for any sign that a decent swell was approaching. If one had materialized, the 24 surfers on the roster would have voted on whether the swell was right for the contest.

"There was one swell in January that we were kind of thinking maybe we would vote, but it fell apart even before we got to the vote," Clark said.

By contrast, she said, approaching swells prompted four votes last season, the fourth of which resulted in the contest being held on Feb. 13.

The contest window opened earlier last season, on Nov. 1, and was scheduled to end March 31.

This season's window was shorter because the permitting process delayed it on the front end, and planned construction at Pillar Point Harbor cut it short on the tail end, Clark said.

She said surfers are a bit down about the absence of prime waves at Mavericks partly for the contest's sake but also because they simply enjoy surfing the break.

"I think any surfer who really loves what they do -- and that's these guys -- are disappointed...there's nothing to surf," she said.

Clark said the window for next season's contest hasn't yet been set.

The beaches and bluffs would have been closed to the public this year after big waves injured a number of spectators at the event last year.

The competition was going to be broadcast live on the Internet, though, so residents could have watched from the comfort of their own homes or with friends at a nearby bar.

-- Bay City News

Laura Dudnick February 21, 2011 at 08:17 PM
Editor's Note: Last year I covered the Mavericks Surf Contest for Bay City News, and joined about 37 other reporters and photographers on the media boat, including my good friend Katie Worth who's a reporter at the San Francisco Examiner. She urged me to take Dramamine but I refused and said I would tough it out. BOY was I sorry. She ended up being one of the only people on the boat to not spend most of the day hunched over the side or curled up in a ball. One reporter for the NY Times who was also on the boat captured that day's events very well: http://bayarea.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/15/mavericks-surf-contest-2010-a-lesson-in-natures-power/
Vanessa Castañeda February 21, 2011 at 08:49 PM
haha Barfaroni. Way to contribute towards the endless variety of unknown objects in the ocean that marine biologists find so captivating. I could applaud you for creating research opportunities for scientists. I'd be quite curious to know how much events like this change the ecosystem, if only for a short period of time, with the introduction of a new, albeit slightly digested, food supply.

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