Twenty-four surfers from around the world voted today to hold the famed Mavericks surf contest this Saturday.
The contest, a major local event and one of the top surf events worldwide, is held only when conditions are just right, producing the forty-foot waves for which the site is famed.
The vote, the first time the surfer’s themselves have made the go/no-go decision to hold the contest, was not unanimous.
The San Mateo County Times, in an unsigned article, worried that the conditions might be more dangerous than expected:
“It’s a really, really dangerous angle of swell,” Washburn said. “I expect a lot more wipeouts than during a regular event. The rescue people are going to need to be rescued themselves.”
The vote was 15-9.
Greg Thomas at the Half Moon Bay Review hints at some of the frustration that accompanies the contest, especially with regard to attempting to predict the weather and surf:
Including this year, the contest has come to fruition seven times in the 11 years since the event first began. The last contest was held in January 2008. Last year’s contest season was marred by upset over missing a swell of historic proportions that washed into Mavericks about a month before the window opened. An acceptable setup failed to materialize in the months after.
Locals know that you have three choices during Mavericks: Join it, stay at home, or go over the hill. At least if you plan to drive. Reports claim that 37,000-40,000 people crowded Princeton-by-the-Sea at the last event.
Does this harm the environment–the contest is held in a protected zone–or endanger the wildlife? Not much to worry about, at least according to famed Mavericks discoverer Jeff Clark, from Tonic.com:
His former wife and former business partner Katherine Clark, now the co-director of the Mavericks Surf Contest, says all is well:
But there is another kind of green very much on people’s minds, and I don’t mean just the $150,000 purse that is up for grabs. Over KGO-TVs site Lyanne Melendez captures the essence in a telling anecdote:
Mavericks Surf Ventures is thinking about the cash, too. The big wave only comes every year or two, wrecking havoc with any business plan centered on the contest. However, as the Wall Street Journal’s Japhet Weeks reports, they have a plan…