The Mavericks Challenge, Northern California’s legendary big wave surf contest, may get a green light for Tuesday.
After considering surf conditions for Monday, World Surf League officials announced Friday that Tuesday may be a better fit, but still not definite. A decision will be made Saturday morning.
“We’ve been closely tracking the conditions for the WSL Mavericks Challenge and have decided to not run on Monday, Jan. 15, due to unfavorable conditions projected,” said Mike Parsons, WSL’s Big Wave Tour commissioner, in the league statement. “We are still keeping Tuesday, Jan. 16, as an option and will make a decision (Saturday) morning. We want to continue to monitor the swell systems to ensure we call the event on in the best conditions.”
This marks the first Mavericks surf contest to be run by the WSL, the big league of professional surfing. The WSL acquired the contest rights from former event organizer Cartel Management, which filed for bankruptcy last year. The last Mavericks contest was held Feb. 12, 2016, and won by Santa Cruz native Nic Lamb.
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According to forecasts, surf along the coast north of Half Moon Bay may reach 20 feet on Monday and Tuesday. A quarter-mile offshore at Pillar Point, Mavericks tends to have bigger waves. The WSL prefers 30-foot or higher faces for its big wave contests.
“Our swell models are showing south winds on Monday that will likely build throughout the day,” Parsons said. “These winds also bump up the chances of fog coming in. Monday also looks like there will be less consistency in the swell, as opposed to Tuesday. The forecasts project improved winds on Tuesday in addition to a more consistent swell.”
Organizers have through Feb. 28 to hold the contest. Including the world’s best big wave surfers, two dozen men and six women – the first female division to contest Mavericks – have been invited to compete for a $130,000 purse.
As in recent years, no spectators will be allowed on the beach or nearby bluffs. No outdoor festival or big screen simulcasts are planned. Fans will be able to follow the action online and watch video at www.worldsurfleague.com.
Several locations near Pillar Point are expected to host viewing parties including Mavericks founder Jeff Clark’s Mavericks Surf Company in Princeton Harbor.