Mavericks Window Closes, Hope Still Alive

Mavericks director Jeff Clark is keeping hope alive that the big wave surf contest could still happen this year even though today is the official closing date.

That's because he extended his permit to hold the contest until April 8 and there is a chance that the waves will be big enough Sunday or Monday.

The ideal conditions would be waves around 30 to 40 feet.

"At this point, the storm season and winter are breaking down and  we're going into spring now, and summer is soon to follow," he said. "We  don't get snow in the summertime, and the same storms that bring us snow  bring us big waves in the winter."

He said he hopes to start the contest window as early as November next year.

"It's been a really bad year (for surfing)," Clark said. "The  water is colder."

Mavericks has typically the biggest waves along the entire California coastline.

The contest normally brings out thousands of spectators about a half-mile up from Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay.

The 24 contestants have been on stand-by to fly to Half Moon Bay with just 24 hours notice since the contest window opened Jan. 1.

Clark said some of the surfers live as far as South Africa and  Brazil, and would have to take 30-hour flights to make it in time for the  contest.

In the 10 years since the contest began, Mavericks has been skipped three times, in 2002, 2003 and 2007.

It turns out more and more California-based surfers are having to travel the globe to find the big waves that earn the big prize money, according to a published report.

For years, the winners at the Billabong XXL Global big-wave awards have been from Hawaii or California, reported the San Diego Union-Tribune. The winners who found the biggest waves and rode them the previous year were often doing so in the North Pacific-- but not recently.

So where are the waves now? Surfers can still ride giants in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Oregon, Hawaii, Alaska, South Africa, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, Chile, Tahiti, Ireland, Spain, France and the Canary Islands, the Billibong organizer told the paper.

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