Titans of Mavericks surf contest to be held Friday without fans

With a new name but the same jaw-dropping surf break, Titans of Mavericks big wave surf contest will be held Friday off Pillar Point north of Half Moon Bay. The first heats will be held shortly after 8 a.m., with the finals expected in the early afternoon.

Unlike past contests when more than 100,000 spectators swarmed the beach and nearby bluff, no fans will be allowed in viewing areas at Pillar Point because of safety concerns. Instead, the event will be streamed free and live online via RedBull.TV, including in-wave views from tiny cameras mounted on the surfboards. Several Half Moon Bay restaurants and bars will host viewing parties. For full details, go to

Driven by El Niño storm systems, a huge Pacific swell is expected to bring massive waves to Mavericks. Contest conditions should be perfect with little wind and a clear sky.

“There are really big seas (off Hawaii) with 50-foot swells,” said surfer Grant Washburn, one of this year’s invitees. “By the time they make it to this point, they’ll still be 40 to 50 feet.”

This will be the 10th Mavericks surf contest in 18 years and the first since 2014.