Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mavericks 2009/2010 Surfers To Call Contest

For the first time ever, the 24 elite big-wave surfers in the Mavericks 2009/2010 contest will make the call on when the waves are high enough for the competition to go ahead.

And with El Niño conditions forecast, surfers are expecting some stupendous thrills.

'This season we’re embarking on a new chapter, as the Mavericks competitors will choose the day,' said Mavericks CEO Keir J. Beadling today. 'Once potentially contestable conditions are identified, ‘the 24’ will vote and determine whether to pull the trigger. If they say ‘go,’ we go, and that’s exactly the way it should be at Mavericks.'

The Mavericks Surf Contest invites 24 of the world's top big-wave surfers to compete at just 24 hours notice between November 1, 2009 and March 31, 2010. The contest, held at Half Moon Bay less than an hour from San Franicisco, is dependent on Mother Nature providing a giant Pacific swell at what is considered to be one of the most dangerous surfing spots in the world.

When to call the contest had become a point of acrimony with former Contest Director and legendary pioneer of Mavericks, Jeff Clark, ousted earlier this year by the board. There have been years when the contest was not called.

With increased sponsorship this year from Sony Ericsson, the previous contest window of January 1 to March 31 has been extended by opening this Sunday, November 1. Contestants will be looking for the 'perfect ride on waves reaching heights of 30 to 40 feet or more,' said Mavericks in their press release.

Official Surf Forecaster Mark Sponsler of is optimistic that the competition will go ahead. 'The El Niño season, which has already begun, should bring a higher number of storms moving from the International Dateline into the Gulf of Alaska than in years previous.

'Those storms should have the potential to push larger and more consistent surf down the Pacific Coast into California,' he said, bringing with them 'several good opportunities' for the contest.

Veteran contest competitor, Kenny “Skindog” Collins, - pictured - commented, 'This Mavericks Contest combined with this season’s El Niño is going to be historic!'

The elite 24 are: Matt Ambrose, Ben Andrews, Grant Baker, Ion Banner, Chris Bertish, Carlos Burle, Kenny Collins, Shane Desmond, Nathan Fletcher, Brock Little, Greg Long, Josh Loya, Peter Mel, Shawn Rhodes, Ryan Seelbach, Evan Slater, Tyler Smith, Jamie Sterling, Anthony Tashnick, Darryl Virostko, Grant Washburn, Dave Wassell, Tim West, Zach Wormhoudt.

Also named are the 15 alternates, in order of priority: Alex Martins, Danilo Couto, Mark Healey, Tyler Fox, Rusty Long, Nic Lamb, Jamie Mitchell, Mike Gerhardt, Russell Smith, Kealii Mamala, Garrett McNamara, Andrew Marr, Lawton Smith, John Whittle, Colin Dwyer.

They will face frigid waters, dangerous currents, jagged rocks and the ever-present threat of the great white shark at what is known as 'the wave beyond.'

A record Prize Purse of $150,000 has been rolled over from last season when the contest was not held, donated by benefactors Moose Guen and Jane Sutherland of MVision, and Barracuda Networks. The Champion will take home $50,000, defending 2008 Champion being Greg Long of San Clemente, who as Champion will be defending his title in a sponsored Jim Beam Jersey.

Fans will be able to purchase a limited edition Contest label, and the company are donating $5,000 to Save the Waves, an environmental coalition that seeks to preserve surf spots around the world.

An extra award of $5,000 for the 'Gnarliest Drop' will be given to the surfer who exhibits the most impressive drop-in of the day.

During the competion, organizers will be working closely with Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (GFNMS), to protect the wildlife and the habitats of the part of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary where the contest takes place, to protect breeding and migrating seabirds and marine mammals.

To reduce the numbers of thousands of people who would flock to the small bay area, and to make the contest accessible to millions more who would not be able to travel there, Mavericks have launched an even more ambitious webcast programme than in 2008 when millions watched live webcast footage.

This season the contest will be be webcast live over the Internet in partnership with Facebook and Ustream, and will be televised live by FLO TV, the San Francisco Giants will host the event at their AT & T Park on the jumbotron, and Jim Beam will host a number of smaller webcast viewing parties at West Coast bars and restaurants - venues to be announced.

For more info, including bio on the surfers, and to sign up to receive a cell phone text message alert as soon as the Contest green light is given (text “MAVERICKS” to 81595):

pics from Mavericks website

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