Organizers of the world-famous Mavericks Surf Contest find themselves in a tough predicament every year when the weather doesn't exactly cooperate so this time, they took matters into their own hands. They don't want to have to cancel the big event becuase of not-so-perfect waves, as they did in 2007 and early 2009.
No, they haven't designed a weather balloon that can entice big waves to swell our way. Instead, they're taking a less scientific approach by taking control of the schedule. This year's wave watch begins a few months earlier -- on Nov. 1.
The watching and waiting for ideal waves begins earlier in hopes of taking advantage of the unknown. Big swells off the Half Moon Bay coast should come more frequently this year, thanks to the El Nino season, which has already begun.
The Mavericks team is taking lessons from last year, which saw some of the best conditions around Thanksgiving. They didn't have the paperwork ready in time to start the contest by then, so they suffered the fate of the flat ocean.
The Mavericks Web site explains their mission: "When those perfect Contest conditions--a menacing swell originating in the Gulf of Alaska that brings with it waves up to 50 feet tall--strike again, The 24 will again be notified that It's On."
If conditions on land aren't ideal for surf-watching, spectators can watch the action from th comfort of AT&T Park, where the contest will be simulcast via the Web. There's also the choice of staying home and catching the action from your own computer. But, hey, why would you do such a thing? Half Moon Bay is fabulous no matter what time of year you visit.