This year's world-renowned Mavericks Surf Contest in Half Moon Bay will not be held Saturday as speculated, but surfers still plan to catch some "fun" waves this weekend, contest participant Grant Washburn said this morning.
A large swell had been monitored for the past week and reached Hawaii on Wednesday morning, prompting contest officials to consider Friday or Saturday as possible days for the big-wave contest, according to contest director Jeff Clark.
"It's more likely that we're not going to have a nice day," said Washburn, a San Francisco resident who has competed in every Mavericks Surf Contest since the competition's creation in 1999.
"We want to have it be a really big day with great weather," he said. "There will probably be some really fun waves but it's not going to be fire and brimstone."
Contest organizer Keir Beadling said, "Based on surf-forecasting models overnight, the swell will not be contestable."
Although the 24 surfers from around the world chosen to participate in the competition are disappointed, Washburn said the waves just won't be good enough this weekend.
"We all want it to happen," he said. "Everyone was really excited. What we should have is something so absolutely positive we're going to have giant waves."
Ideal conditions would be waves around 30 to 40 feet, Clark said. The window for the contest began Jan. 1 and lasts until March 31, and surfers are given 24 hours notice of when the contest will happen.
"Beyond this weekend, we'll have to wait and see," Beadling said.
The contest takes place a half-mile off the coast of Pillar Point. In an effort to limit the crowd impact on the environment, fans are provided with several other options.
Those who want to watch the contest are encouraged to attend a viewing event at AT&T Park in San Francisco. The contest will be broadcast live on flat-panel screens throughout the Club Level. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $20 or for $25 at the door.
Fans may also watch the contest on a free online webcast.
Contest officials also announced this week that the prize money that will go to the winner of the contest has doubled, becoming the largest prize in big-wave surfing competition history.
The winner will receive $150,000, a total reached after a $75,000 contribution was made by Barracuda Networks Inc. The first $75,000 was donated by Moose Guen and Jane Sutherland of MVision, contest officials said.