Waves Ripe for Mavericks Surf Contest

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Big wave surfers may not have to wait long for the 2009 Mavericks Surf Contest.

    Don't hold your breath but, the world-famous Mavericks Surf Contest could finally be happening this week.

    Big waves are hitting the Pacific Coast now, making perfect conditions for the brave souls who take to the ocean and participate in the competition.

    Surfers worldwide are keeping their eyes on a swell materializing in the Pacific that, if its direction changes slightly, could allow the annual contest near Half Moon Bay to happen Friday, a contest official said this morning.

    "We're all keeping our fingers crossed," contest co-director Katherine Clark said. "Right now, this particular swell is looking to be in the wrong direction, but we just don't know until they get a little closer."

    The 24 surfers chosen from around the world to compete in the contest will decide within the next 24 to 48 hours whether to vote on holding the contest Friday, Clark said.

    In the past, it was up to former contest director Jeff Clark to decide whether to hold the contest, but this year the surfers decided they wanted to vote as a whole instead.

    "Everybody's excited to have it happen," Katherine Clark said. "When (the swells) are so far out, there's so many variables."

    Contest officials received a report this morning that the swell might be too far south, "but we're still keeping an eye on it," Clark said.

    "If it shows signs of being something worthy, then there could be a vote in 48 hours," she said.

    She said contest officials begin tracking the swells off the coast  of Japan as they travel to the West Coast.

    Since the contest window opened Nov. 1, there have been about half a dozen swells that surfers considered for the contest, including this one.

    Ideal conditions for the competition would be 20-foot waves, Clark said.

    Bay City News contributed to this report.