Supes may extend window for Mavericks contest 

Faced with the prospect of cancelling the popular Mavericks big wave surf contest, organizers said Thursday they are considering extending the competition window.

While no final verdict has been reached, organizers have asked that the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office get approval from county supervisors to manage traffic and close certain coastal roads should the contest occur through April 15, officials said. The current agreement expires March 31.

Supervisors are scheduled to vote on whether to grant the extension at their meeting Tuesday.

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 near the small community of Princeton-by-the-Sea. Weather conditions permitting, the contest is held during the winter storm season, typically January through March.

When the time is right, 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.

If the big waves don’t materialize, the event could be called off for purely weather-related reasons for the first time ever, according to Keir Beadling, managing partner and co-founder of organizer Mavericks Surf Ventures.

"We haven’t made any definitive decision yet as to whether we will or won’t extend the contest window," Beadling said Thursday.

Careful not to jinx any waves that may be on the way, in spite of weather forecasts that indicate otherwise, organizers don’t plan to announce an extension until the end of March, Beadling said.

If extended, it would be a first for the contest. With so much interest from surfers, fans and the media, organizers don’t want to be limited by an arbitrary date, Beadling said.

The contest season could feasibly be extended through the middle of April without much trouble, according to Sheriff’s Lt. Steven Shively, who oversees operations on the coast side. Beyond that it begins to overlap with preparations for the car, plane and motorcycle show Pacific Coast Dream Machines scheduled for April 29 in Half Moon Bay, Shively said.

If called off, Mavericks Surf Ventures plans to hold a closing ceremony, another first, on the beach in early April. While details are still being worked out, live music and surfer appearances and a giant Diamond Vision video screen showing highlights from some of the best Mavericks surfing caught on film would be part of the event.

ecarpenter@examiner.com

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