The three-month window for the 2012 big-wave Mavericks Invitational has officially opened, but if you were expecting to watch the one-day competition of world-famous surfers from the shore, think again.
Contest organizers this year are requiring pre-purchased tickets for anyone to get near the beach.
After a rogue wave knocked several spectators into the sea in 2010, organizers will limit the number of people who can access the bluffs that overlook the Pacific Ocean at Pillar Point, near where the competition is held.
The tickets are meant to increase safety, but will give a limited number of people the chance to view the competition, which takes place one-half mile offshore. Prices range from $25, which will allow access to a festival in town and some viewing areas, to $1,000, which allows you to meet surfers and ride on a boat to watch the contest.
The Mavericks Invitational window opened New Year’s Day and will last through March 31. Contest organizers don’t expect the event will be called until February based on the fact that five of the past 12 contests were held the second month of the year or later.
Despite the changes, the event will retain some traditions. The Hawaiian-style opening ceremony to officially kick off the contest window will still be held in Half Moon Bay, at 2 p.m. Friday.
When the contest is called, the 24 competing surfers have 24 hours to get to Half Moon Bay and take on the waves. They compete for one day.
A public meeting will be held Thursday night in Half Moon Bay to provide more information on the Mavericks Invitational.
When: 6 p.m. Thursday
Where: Half Moon Bay Yacht Club, 214 Princeton Ave.