Big Changes For 2012 Mavericks

The Mavericks surf contest is no longer a spectator sport.

The window for the infamous Maverick surf contest is now open. 

The surfing contest is an invitation-only surfing competition held a half-mile offshore of Pillar Point Habor in Half Moon Bay. Contestants get 24-hours notice to show up and hang ten on waves that can hit 40 feet.

If Mavericks happens in the next three months it will come with some changes nearly as big as the waves. The conditions have to be just right in order for the contest to be called and that is far from a sure thing. Last year, the waves never materialized.

This year spectators will not be able to watch the contest from the beach or bluffs off Pillar Point. Instead they will be forced to watch a video feed of the event at the nearby Oceano Hotel.

The ban was put in place in part because spectators were hurt during the event in 2010. Large waves surged into the crowd injuring more than 40 people. A few years before that, people sitting on the bluffs were injured by falling rocks.

Eight of the 24 surfers who have qualified for Mavericks are from Santa Cruz. The man to watch is a guy from Florida named Kelly Slater. He is among the most famous surfers in the world.

The surfing window closes on March 31.

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