Monday, January 4, 2010

2009/2010 Mavericks Surf Contest May Be Called This Weekend!

Mavericks surfers are watching the jet stream and swells out in the Pacific, in the chance that the annual big-wave surf competition might just be held this week.

Their latest tweet says, 'Pacific is pretty active, but we need the jet stream to come together.'

Contest co-director Katherine Clark said the surfers had been put on alert to vote on Wednesday and Thursday.

 A 'yes' vote on Wednesday will mean a contest on Friday, a vote on Thursday will see the surfers hitting the waves on Saturday.

'The Call', when it is made, will have 24 of the world's greatest big-wave surfers rushing to Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco.

If the contest isn't called then, 'right behind it is another swell,' said Katherine. But the surfers are on their toes for this weekend.

'Everybody's on call,' she said - and under orders from the Maverick's Matriarch to 'start paying attention!'

But 'The Call' rests with the surfers, the big change in the running of the contest since Mavericks pioneer Jeff Clark is no longer Contest Director and calling the contest himself.

'It's their job and they're taking it very seriously,' Katherine said.

After tonight, she added, they would have a clearer idea of the likelihood of a contest. 'The season is really starting to come together. We've had about ten days when they could surf,' she added, expecting  that El Nino would further enhance swells.

The surfers are now close at hand. Many are living locally around Half Moon Bay, San Francisco, Santa Cruz and southern California. Those who live in Hawaii are still there - 'there's been some great waves in Hawaii'. Furthest away is Chris Bertish who is in South Africa. His fellow countryman, Grant 'Twiggy' Baker, has been living in San Francisco since just after the contest window opened on November 1.

Reigning champion Greg Long is in his home area in southern California. He is a strong contender for the crown having won the prestigious Eddie Aikau big-wave contest in Hawaii in December.

The Mavericks contest takes place about half a mile off shore, just off Pillar Point at Half Moon Bay. It is considered to be one of the most dangerous surfing spots in the world, with thunderous waves, rocks and frigid temperatures.

When the contest is called - and last year there was no contest due to a lack of swell - an expected 40,000 fans will cram along the shoreline. Millions of others will either be in the Giants' AT & T ballpark in San Francisco for a live broadcast or watching on TVs and computers.

As the popularity of the contest grows, the Mavericks organization are using digital technology to make it more accessible than ever.

The contest is sponsored by Sony Ericsson and Barracuda Networks with a record roll-over prize of $150,000.

To keep an eye on the 'contest call':

Pics show Ryan Seelbach, Alex Martins, Chris Bertish at the Opening Ceremony; Katherine Clark with 'Doc' Pascowitz and surfers

No comments: