HALF MOON BAY The popular big-wave surf contest at Mavericks wont be held Tuesday, World Surfing league officials have decided.
They now are looking at Thursday with a bigger swell expected to rock the Central Coast.
It will blow your hair back, said Brian Overfelt, the contest’s manager for community events. But right now it looks like weather is coming with it.
The WSL’s Big Wave Tour officials announced the decision Saturday morning after spending the past three days monitoring satellite models of large groundswells charging toward the coastline.
It was a tough call and, frankly, a low confidence forecast, said Kevin Wallis, Surflines forecast manager.
Mike Parsons, the Big Wave Tour commissioner, said in a statement officials were concerned about southerly winds projected to come in Tuesday morning.
There is also potential for northwest winds to come in, he added. The models are showing a slight decrease in the swell size, as well. We still have the rest of January and all of February to get a better opportunity to run the Mavericks Challenge and will continue to closely track the conditions to hopefully run this season.”
Big waves those with drops of 25 feet or higher are the most important factor in holding the all-day event that will include 24 men and, for the first time, six women. But the contest also is traditionally is held under a clear sky and mild winter weather. If Thursdays swell includes windy conditions and rain it is unlikely officials will go forward.
The Big Wave Tour created a two-month window to hold the event, once known as Titans of Mavericks, after the California Coastal Commission gave final approval last month. The window opened Jan. 3 and goes until Feb. 28.
The Mavericks Challenge has a prize purse of $130,000 and includes Bay Area surfers Ben Andrews, Tyler Fox, Sarah Gerhardt, Nic Lamb, Peter Mel, Travis Payne, Pat Shaughnessy, Jason Stark, Anthony Tashnick and Bianca Valenti.
Although women are competing only in a one-hour, single-heat final, they say it’s a start as they push for more opportunities. The field includes stars Paige Alms and Keala Kennelly.
Spectators won’t be allowed on the beach or bluffs above the break during the event. The contest will be available on a webcast at worldsurfleague.com.
Also, the village of Princeton-by-the-Sea won’t have a festival like years past because there wasn’t enough time to plan for it. But Overfelt, who owns Old Princeton Landing, said he and some other places from Pacifica to Half Moon Bay will host viewing parties, including Mavericks Surf Company.