Near perfect conditions for Mavericks

The Mavericks Invitational 2012-2013 big-wave surf contest in Half Moon Bay will be held for the first time in three years today according to competition officials. Meteorologists have predicted near-perfect weather conditions for the tournament, which has not been held since 2010, but the world’s best big wave surfers are falling out like flies.

A slide-show on what you can expect at Mavericks

Shane Dorian, considered the best at the giant surf competitions, has had to pull out after he sustained a shoulder injury at Nazare, the big-wave venue in Portugal. Carlos Burle had a wipe-out at Maui and has also had to pull out because of a shoulder injury. And now Kelly Slater has just withdrawn although it is still not too clear why he has withdrawn at the very last minute. It is possible that it has something to do with a conflict of interest.  Mavericks is not an ASP-sanctioned event, and as such, Slater could face being fined, losing points in the standings or having his seeding changed in ASP events if he competed at Mavericks.

It is an irritating technicality. Slater is the face of surfing and known to a whole legion of fans. 11-times world champion and a supreme surfer under all conditions, he will be sorely missed.

But other competitors will have been watching the perfect mixture of meteorological events which began to unfold last Monday. It is predicted that the mix will form fast and furious 40-foot waves today when the swell reaches Maverick. “When the waves hit the reef out there, it’s going to explode,” Mavericks Invitational Director Jeff Clark said. “The waves are going to be insane and the level of surfing will break new ground.” 

24 of the world’s best big-wave surfers will be there to accept the challenge. “It’s going to be super dangerous,” Shawn Dollar, a Santa Cruz surfer in the Maverick’s line-up, said on Thursday. “This is a very powerful swell, and we will have dramatic conditions that will push the competitors to their limits. Sunday is going to beautiful and very scary at times.”

And there is always an upside to bad luck. The withdrawals due to injuries or technicalities is good news for the contest’s top three alternates: Tyler Fox and Josh Loya, both experienced Mavericks surfers from Santa Cruz, and up-and-coming Pacifica surfer Colin Dwyer.

Whoever emerges as the world’s greatest big-wave surfer today will take home $25,000 in winnings. Fox and Dollar said while the prize is sweet, surfers would brave Mavericks even without the fame and money. “We’re not doing it for the prize money, we’re doing it because we love it,”  said Dollar.

If you’re lucky enough to be in California you will be able to watch the event at Pillar Point, Half Moon Bay although there will be very restricted access to all roads in this region. Complete coverage with commentary and replays can be watched beginning at 8 a.m. West Coast time on and

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