I saw the film Chasing Mavericks on a flight sometime last year. The film did little for me to capture the excitement of California surf culture in Santa Cruz. There was a lot of drama off the waves in the film. I watched it again a couple months ago for the scenery of central coast California in the ocean and shore shots.
In real life, Mavericks is a one-day big wave surf invitational event that is called within 48 hours when the weather and sea conditions align to create monster waves. Mavericks waves are at a spot one-half mile off the coast at the northern end of Half Moon Bay, California. Pillar Point Harbor is the area closest to Mavericks, about five miles north of Half Moon Bay, about 50 miles north of Santa Cruz and some 25 miles south of San Francisco.
The event does not always take place. The surf conditions have to align properly. Generally the announcement of Mavericks is a very short window.
Tomorrow the waves at Mavericks are predicted to be 30 to 40 feet, or higher.
Yesterday the call went out to 24 surfers and alternates that Mavericks Surf Invitational will happen Friday morning, January 24, 2014 at 8:30am. Finals will be at 1:30pm.
Online check: www.mavericksinvitational.com
The Mavericks Invitational is the world’s premier, high adrenaline, big wave surfing event. This one-day, invitation-only surfing competition is held at the legendary Mavericks surf break located near Half Moon Bay, only 20 minutes south of San Francisco and near the heart of California’s Silicon Valley. The 24 best and most daring big-wave surfers in the world will attempt to tame the massive swells on the biggest and best day of the winter season.
Mavericks Invitational will provide a free, live webcast! View all the action from home, work, while on the go, or from of our local restaurants or bars. We’re also hosting a Viewing Festival & Awards Ceremony on the grounds of the Oceano Hotel & Spa in Princeton Harbor. Join hundreds of other Mavericks fans for a live simulcast of the event, food, music, activities, and the Awards Ceremony with a chance to meet the surfers!
To preserve public safety and our delicate ecosystem on the bluffs and beach, there is no public access to the beach or bluffs during the contest.
The Story of Mavericks on the website is a good read.
The event will be broadcast for the first time on TV over Universal Sports Network. California sun and waves may make this a spectacular surf debut.
The distance of Mavericks surf waves from shore makes viewing better from a computer or TV. At the event in 2010, there was a wave that hit the crowd and tents at Pillar Point and washed people into the ocean. There will be portions of coastline closed off for spectators during the event Friday.
There is a gathering point for big screen viewing at Oceano Hotel & Spa at Pillar Point about 5 miles north of Highway 92. Parking at Half Moon Bay Airport on Highway 1.
The cheap admission is $15 to attend.
$200 gets you Gold VIP access with an opportunity to meet surfers.
$500 or $1,000 will get you on a boat or yacht.
Now those are Hollywood prices for chasing Mavericks without too much effort.
WHEN IS THE FESTIVAL?
The Festival takes place on the date of the contest. BREAKING NEWS!!! The event has the GREEN LIGHT…. it’s a GO for Friday, January 24, 2014.
Why can’t I go to the beach or bluffs?
During giant swells that are a part of contest day, the small beach known as Maverick’s is affected by the high tide and surges, and it sits beneath towering and dangerous cliffs that are too unstable for large crowds of people. And with the competition happening more than ½ mile offshore, it is virtually impossible to see the action from the beach. For public safety, local authorities from San Mateo County Sheriff, California Parks, CHP, San Mateo County Harbor District and other participating agencies will close off all roads to Pillar Point, including access to the beach and bluffs. Your ticket provides you access to the Mavericks Viewing Festival located on the grounds of the Oceano Hotel & Spa in Princeton Harbor, just up the road from Maverick’s.
I just opened the patio blinds wider as the wind has picked up and rustling the blinds here in Monterey. I’ll be checking out the waves here on the Monterey Peninsula with my camera today and tomorrow. Monterey is about 90 miles south of Mavericks.
February 13, 2010 image of super waves at Point Pinos, Pacific Grove on the same day Mavericks Invitational was held that year. 2010 is the year when several Mavericks spectators were injured by a rogue wave that hit shore.
Here is a great read from a surfer to get the feel for what these surfers endure to ride Mavericks.