Brendan Weber

Officials Talk Surfing Safety Ahead of Potential Mavericks Contest

The world-famous surfing contest won't take place Monday, but it could happen later this week

Surfers, rescue workers, boat captains, photographers and others associated with big wave surfing were all invited to a Half Moon Bay restaurant Sunday morning to talk surfing safety as Mother Nature pounds the nearby Mavericks surf spot with towering waves.

While the Mavericks Challenge surfing contest has yet to receive the go-ahead to take place sometime this week, the competition could still receive the green light if the ideal conditions line up.

As surfers and spectators descend on the surf spot near Half Moon Bay in anticipation of a competition, officials met Sunday to talk all things surfing safety, including topics such emergency escape zones, radio communication, first responder duties and more.

"We just wanted to make sure that everyone going out understood how big tomorrow was going to be and how dangerous it was going to be," Frank Quirarte, who runs the Mavericks rescue team, said Sunday.

Monday has officially been ruled out as a day for competitive surfing due to high winds and wave heights.

"[Monday] we are going to see some of the biggest surf we haven't seen here in maybe 10 years," Quirarte said.

He added that the combination of gusty winds and soaring waves create a "very dangerous" mix and wouldn't make for "good competition."

"Even the most experienced guys will tell you that's something they don't want to even do," Quirarte said.

Regardless, surfers are still expected to paddle out Monday and take on the swells during practice sessions.

A high surf warning is in effect for the Bay Area coastline until Monday night, according to the National Weather Service. Breaking waves could peak anywhere from 25 to 40 feet. Some waves could climb above 50 feet at "favored locations."

If the right conditions align for competition, this year's Mavericks Challenge will be historic as women will compete for the fist time.

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