Nearly three months have passed since the competition window opened for the Maverick's surf contest and the 24 competitors are still waiting for giant waves and perfect conditions so they can hold the best Mavericks contest ever.El Niño fueled their optimism. The incredible Eddie Aikau memorial competition in early December, won by San Clemente's Greg Long, reinforced the mindset that the Maverick's contest must be just as epic.
However, the world's premier big-wave surfers might be forced to lower their standards the next time a big swell is due and they convene for a vote. That's because the contest window closes in two months and the jet stream has lowered, bringing storms--and storminess--closer to the coast, reducing the likelihood of prolonged clean sets at Maverick's near Half Moon Bay.
Long, who is the defending contest champion, told me today, "I still have faith that we're going to get a day to run the event and I still think the biggest swells for the West Coast are yet to come, and it's just a matter of if the the weather cooperates."
Then Long conceded: "I think people's standards are going to come down a little bit, and that we're going to have to settle for a good 15- to 18-foot day with 20-foot sets; that we might not get that perfect 25-foot day."
That would be a shame but perhaps a bigger shame would be letting more opportunities pass--there have been a few legitimate opportunities this winter--and missing out on holding a contest for the second consecutive season.-- Pete Thomas
2008 file photo of Maverick's by Pete Thomas