Good weather wipes out Mavericks surf competition 

Calm weather and clear skies have combined to undo the Mavericks big-wave surf competition, resulting in the first cancellation of the event for purely weather-related reasons.

Competition organizers, with Maverick Surf Ventures, had considered extending the season into the first half of April as they eyed storms developing over the Pacific, but weather forecasts hold little hope for weather that would create the monster waves needed to put on the contest, said Keir Beadling, managing partner and co-founder of Mavericks Surf Ventures.

"There is nothing that is expected to deliver in the next couple of days, and beyond that is really crystal ball forecasting," Beadling said.

While a lack of good surf was cited by the sponsor as the reason the contest was canceled in 2001, surfers said big waves in January and February were passed up to avoid conflicting with another surf event. In 2002 and 2003, the event was called off for lack of a sponsor.

Finally accepting the bad news, Surf Ventures on Friday announced the closing of the "waiting period" that alerts surfers around the world that the event could be called any moment, leaving them with 24 hours to arrive. Instead, there will be a private closing ceremony for the first time in the event’s history.

"It’s been an extraordinarily bad year for big wave surfing at Mavericks this year," Beadling said.

Mavericks has become famous for its daring surfers who brave 30- to 50-foot-high waves that break on a reef nearly a half-mile off the coast from the nearby community of Princeton-by-the-Sea.

Weather permitting, the contest is held in the winter storm season, typically January through March. Two dozen of the world’s top surfers receive just 24 hours notice and arrive from as far away as South Africa as the wind and surf combine to create the perfect day of waves. The event usually begins at 8 a.m. and wraps up around 3 p.m.

Since its relaunch in 2004, the event has taken off in popularity, drawing 40,000 to 50,000 fans to the San Mateo County coast a year ago.

The closing of the waiting period is also likely to be a disappointment to local coastside businesses, who stand to lose out on between $300,000 and $400,000, according to Charise McHugh, president and CEO of the Half Moon Bay Coastside Chamber of Commerce.

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