Fans encouraged to catch Mavericks surf competition at viewing festival 

With a legendary surfing competition set off the coast of Half Moon Bay ready to happen Friday, organizers are reminding viewers to plan a safe way to catch the big-wave action.

With waves and conditions looking promising, the 2013-14 Body Glove Mavericks Invitational will begin Friday at 8 a.m., competition founder Jeff Clark announced.

The competition takes place only when organizers determine weather and wave conditions look right, and competitors can have as little as 24 hours' notice to arrive once the time is announced.

There are 24 surfers who have been invited to participate in this year's contest, including Brazilian surfer Carlos Burle, was reported to have possibly surfed the world's biggest wave off the coast of Portugal last year.

The roster also includes 2012-13 Mavericks winner Peter Mel, of Santa Cruz, and 2009-10 winner Chris Bertish, of South Africa, along with a handful of local surfers from Pacifica, Santa Cruz and San Francisco.

There are six alternative surfers on standby for the competition.

To watch the contest this year a viewing area will be set up at Oceano Hotel and Spa at 280 Capistrano Road near Pillar Point Harbor, just across from the Mavericks break.

The surfers take to the water about a half-mile offshore.

The festival at the Oceano grounds will provide a live viewing party on a big screen with live music, food and drink concessions and other vendors on hand.

According to the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office, the bluffs above the break and entrance to the beach are closed to the public for safety reasons.

Viewers cannot go to the Mavericks beach because of high tide and surges. The cliffs above the beach are also considered unsafe for large crowds.

The roads to Pillar Point will be closed during the competition.

There will be a free webcast of the competition online and a boat charter can be purchased to watch the surfers from the water.

Half Moon Bay Sportfishing and Tackle offers boat rides for $250, with many time slots on boats already sold out.

More information about the contest and tickets is available at www.MavericksInvitational.com.

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