The surfing world let out a collective gasp on Sunday as the end of the Mavericks contest window ended, bringing another year the big-wave surf competition was cancelled. Although the waves were big in December, officials never found a consistent window to safely hold the event.
Nearing the end of the season, competitors were hopeful that March 23-24 could bring with it the last hope of the premiere competition being held this season. But the world-famous surf spot couldn’t hold up to the standards of the World Surf League – 40-foot waves over a full-day span.
The reality was felt the most among the 10 women surfers, who were granted equal prize money for the first time in the competition’s history.
Frustration mounted early in the season as a 4-day window in December could have accommodated the event, but due to the the WSL’s policy of providing a 72 hour alert to the competitors, the window was missed. That didn’t stop big wave surfers from around the world from enjoying the epic swells:
Mavericks is the world-renown surfing spot located in Half Moon Bay, just south of San Francisco off of Highway 1. After strong winter storms in the Pacific Ocean, the location can see waves anywhere between 25 and 60 feet. It is a very dangerous spot for surfers, known to have taken the lives of famous surfers Mark Foo and Sion Milosky.
This is the second straight season the event was cancelled. Last season, event organizers had their eyes on the swell during January to hold the contest, but poor conditions prevailed and the contest was not held at all.
The Mavericks Challenge has a prize purse of $130,000 and usually includes 24 men and 10 women competitors. Spectators aren’t allowed on the beach or bluffs above the break during the event, making it one of the most hyped events in all of surfing.
Now, after a 2-year break, we’ll have to wait until next winter to hopefully see NorCal’s premiere surfing event take place.