Monday, November 2, 2009

Judging Mavericks 2009/2010 Surf Contest & Heat Selections

Holding the Mavericks Surf Contest is one thing, judging who on a given day out of the world's top big-wave surfers is the best performer, is another matter.

'It's an honour to be chosen to head the judging and pick who's going to be the winner. It's one of the most challenging big-waves in the world,' said Head Judge Gary Linden - pictured

He was on Mavericks Beach at Half Moon Bay on Friday, taking part in the opening ceremony of the contest's Waiting Period - see previous blogs - and at the celebration party afterwards when heat selections were drawn.

With all the indications with warm water this late in the year, he said, 'I think it's going to be a great year and I think it will give us ample opportunity to pick big waves and great conditions.'

'Anyone on a given day could end up a winner!' he said, of the 24 invitees. Defending Champion is Greg Long of San Clemente.

Their performance on the day depends on a combination of skill and Mother Nature. Points are not only given for the way the surfers ride the wave, but on the size of the wave itself. Ten for a great wave, but half that with the wrong wave, said Gary.

They need an 'uncanny ability' to get the most critical take-off on the biggest wave possible.

In the first-round heats, six surfers at a time have 45 minutes to 'be in the right place at the right time.'

Without the right wave, 'you're cooked!' said Gary.

(Jamie Sterling of Hawaii pic left)

While Gary has his eye on the contestants, another man with a different eye on the scene will be Deputy Harbourmaster, Cary Smith, who will be one of those responsible for policing the event with its expected 40,000 crowd.

Cary was quietly patrolling and chatting to people at the opening ceremony. There are hundreds, maybe even a thousand, people working behind the scenes to organize this event, he said. Basically, its 'crowd management' including provision of medical teams, he said.

But, he pointed out, even with 1,000 people, that makes one person per 4,000 people. 'It gets pretty crazy!' he said.

One restriction they have to enforce is to stop fans getting onto the top of the cliff behind the beach, as in a past year rocks fell down on someone.

Cary's primary responsibility is on the water, to ensure everyone's safety from the contestants to the flotilla of rescue jet skis, and small craft bearing media and safety equipment.

He's confident those plans are 'pretty good!'

Heat 1: Evan Slater, Darryl 'Flea' Virostko, Ion Banner, Dave Wassell, Grant 'Twiggy' Baker, Tyler Smith
Heat 2: Peter Mel, Shane Desmond, Zach Wormhoudt, Nathan Fletcher, Matt Ambrose, Anthony Tashnick.

Heat 3: Brock Little, Tim West Jr, Kenny 'Skindog' Collins, Josh Loya, Greg Long, Carlos Burle.
Heat 4: Chris Bertish, Grant Washburn, Ryan Seelbach, Ben Andrews, Shawn Rhodes, Jamie Sterling

pics by Chris Flowers

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great coverage and pics!!