Mavericks big wave surf contest could be a no-go 

Mavericks, the Bay Area’s celebrated big wave surf contest, is just two weeks from being called off for the first time due to the absence of the 30-foot-plus monster waves that make it famous.

"It is a fun contest, so even the guys who don’t relish the event will be disappointed," said surfer Grant Washburn, who made the finals in 2004 and 2006.

Mavericks has become famous for surfers who dare to take on the 30- to 50-foot-high waves that break on a reef nearly a half-mile off the coast.

Watch the final heat of the 2006 contest, below:

Sign up at Maverick's to watch the 2007 live web cast, if the contest gets a green light. 

Weather conditions permitting, the contest is held during 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 begins at 8 a.m. and wraps up around 3 p.m.

While not "throwing in the white towel," Keir Beadling, the managing partner and co-founder of organizer Mavericks Surf Ventures, admitted Mavericks has never been held this late in the season that he recalls.

"So far as I know, Mavericks has never really been called because of weather," Beadling said.

While waves were cited in 2001 as the reason for the cancellation, surfers involved in the event claim the sponsor passed on big waves in January and February for a March date to avoid conflict with a different event. In 2002 and 2003, the event was called off for lack of a sponsor, according to event spokeswoman Jennifer Mangiacapre.

Opening the waiting period in December will be considered by Beadling and his partners, including Mavericks surf legend Jeff Clark, during the offseason.

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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