Families watch Mavericks surfers in Half Moon Bay

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Surfers got an early start Friday morning, many heading out before sunrise, to catch the "gnarliest waves in the world."

In previous Titans of Mavericks contests, spectators could watch a jumbo screen from Pillar Point. Due to safety concerns, that's no longer an option. 

Anyone who wants to be close to the action, but doesn't have a spot on a boat, needs to find a viewing party. 

There's no shortage of venues to choose from in Half Moon Bay and Princeton-by-the-Sea including the Maverick's Surf Shop, Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, Flavor, Old Princeton Landing, Public House and Grill, Miramar Beach Restaurant and Cameron's Inn Pub and Restaurant.

While we have on KTVU crew out on a boat, we also found a spot at Flavor in Half Moon Bay where some of the surfers' families are watching the action.

A day ahead of the competition Santa Cruz surfer Ken "Skindog" Collins told KTVU Mavericks is the "scariest place on Earth," and such an adrenaline rush.

We caught up with his wife Annouschka at Flavor, where she was watching with their kids.  

She's been with Ken for 28 years and is no stranger to watching him compete. When asked if she gets nervous watching him she hesitated before replying, "not too bad...no."

She was all smiles watching Ken in his first heat. He ended in second place.

Annouschka said her husband was feeling confident before heading out Friday. "This morning he was feeling good."

She said although she's used to the professional surfer lifestyle, it's hard when he gets called to last minute contests and she has to work on shuffling the family's plans. She was happy that wasn't an issue with this contest, "because it's so close."

According to reports, Collins wiped out later in the day on a 30 foot wave and had to withdraw from the contest.

The wife of surfer Ben Wilkinson of Hawaii, originally Australia, was also watching at Flavor.

The couple just had a three-week-old baby so she was unable to watch from a boat.

She said, "He's doing what he loves... I just sit back and watch the show. Of course it's nerve-wracking." 

Flavor told KTVU they held a dinner for the 24 Mavericks surfers the night before. They said it was pretty early and offered a lot of protein, veggies and fruit for the guys ahead of their big day.

They are normally closed for lunch, but opened bright and early saying "this may be the busiest day of the year."

Stay with KTVU.com as we continue to update this story as the action continues.