Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mavericks 2009 Season Extended

The world's greatest big-wave surfers and their fans have been given another eight days to see if the Pacific Ocean will produce a near-50 ft swell, enough for the spectacular Mavericks Surf Contest to go ahead at Half Moon Bay.

The big-wave surf contest is considered by many to be the most dangerous in the world and has an open season between January and the end of March.

The contest at Mavericks was due to officially close at midnight last night - without a surfer riding the waves. But weather forecasts of a possible storm have given hope that there may be a heaving ocean between now and April 8.

On 24-hour alert during season time are 24 of many of the world's greatest big-wave surfers, specially invited by legendary founder and Contest Director, Jeff Clark. Equally on alert, through email and text links, are thousands of fans across California, and beyond, who are ready to rush to the tiny beach to watch the breathtaking event, or grab tickets to see a live satellite feed at the Giants' AT & T Park in San Francisco.

From the city, Half Moon Bay is about an hour's drive down the Pacific Coast. Some fans who hope to watch at the AT & T Park have already bought their $20 tickets.

This morning the media had been informed of the extension - NBC announced it on their morning broadcast - but by 10 am so far nothing had been posted on the Mavericks website, nor had anything been sent to fans via email or text alerts.

The www.maverickssurf.com website - 'screen grabs' above - remains the same as it has done since the opening of the season.

Opening Ceremonies were held in anticipation in January, and four sets of heats were drawn by the picking of a golf ball from a bucket. Many of the surfers, including last year's champion, Greg Long, from San Clemente, south of LA, have been photoed surfing down there since November.

This year is the fifth contest and carries with it the largest ever prize of $150,000. Last year in a private pact the top six surfers shared the prize equally among themselves.

The Mavericks website poses and answers the question, 'Who are the 24?.... - those with the courage and commitment to mount an assault on the pounding Mavericks surf; to face the detonating bombs; to challenge the site that CNN has called "the world’s most dangerous wave".

These riders,' it says, 'are presented with waves as high as 50 feet, remarkably strong currents, dangerous rocks, shallow reefs, and frigid water temperatures. In summary, Mavericks is like no other place on the planet.'

Jeff Clark grew up just north of Half Moon Bay and as a 17-year-old was the first person ever to surf Mavericks in 1975. He continued to surf there alone for 15 years, until the surfing world finally realized that the Mavericks wave was no myth.

'Mavericks is really the only spot that still holds its own in paddle-surfing,' he says on his website. 'It's the biggest, baddest paddle-in spot in the world. When Waimea Bay (Hawaii ) closes out, Mavericks is still ripping. When it comes to who's paddling into the biggest waves on this planet, it's the guys that surf here.'

Today he not only runs the contest but Mavericks Surf Shop, designing and making surfboards and surfing gear including clothes and accessories. The store is in Half Moon Bay.

***see next blog for April 1 breaking news info on stunning 100ft wave surfing barrier broken several hundred miles off the Chilean coastline!

No comments: