Surfer rides big wave during Maverick's Invitational (file)
KTVU and Wires
HALF MOON BAY, Calif. —
For the first time since 2010, the famed Mavericks Big Wave surf contest will be held Sunday as a storm off Japan has sent swells heading toward the Northern California coast that could reach 20 feet or more on height.
The National Weather Service was predicting a high surf advisory for the San Mateo coast this weekend.
Contest founder Jeff Clark said his team has been studying the approaching swell.
"The way this storm has telegraphed and what it's going to do, I think we'll be able to make the call this afternoon -- and it looks promising," Clark said.
Mark Sponsler, the contest's official forecaster, said condition should be perfect around noon on Sunday. The content will begin at 8 a.m. and continue through the afternoon.
"Light to moderate winds with a low tide at 12:32 p.m. will make for favorable conditions at this year's event," Sponsler wrote in a text message Wednesday. Twenty-four of the most skilled surfers from around the world have been selected to participate in the big-wave surfing contest, which takes place one half mile off the coast of Half Moon Bay at the Mavericks break.
Contest conditions are extreme, with waves in past years as high as 50 feet, strong currents, frigid water and jagged rocks. Contestants are given just 24 hours' notice to arrive to the coast ready to compete.
The contest was canceled last year because Mother Nature failed to produce perfect conditions, Clark said. But this year might prove different.
"We're really excited that we actually have a swell," Clark said. "This is the biggest swell we've had for a couple years."
When asked how high the waves could be from this swell, Clark immediately responded "big."
"We're hoping for at least 30-foot range, but the ocean does what it wants and it's not going to give you that perfect storm every year," he said.
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