Mavericks Surf Ventures, Inc. (Mavericks) announced today that the official waiting period for The 2009 Mavericks Surf Contest Presented by Sony Ericsson is now closed. The waiting period began on January 1, 2009 and officially ended on March 31, 2009.

Showcasing 24 of the world’s finest big-wave surfers, the largest prize purse in the history of big-wave surfing, and four former Contest Champions, The Mavericks Surf Contest will return again next season to the epic Half Moon Bay break.

Every winter season, Mother Nature offers up the ocean’s harshest conditions and the giant, unpredictable waves that characterize the Mavericks break and the annual Mavericks Surf Contest; frigid waters, dangerous currents, jagged rocks and the ever-present threat of the great white shark.

Mix these with perfect weather conditions, and 24 chosen surfers await the contest call from legendary big-wave surf pioneer and Contest Director, Jeff Clark.  They then have only 24 hours to arrive in Half Moon Bay to face the extreme conditions, thunderous waves and each other.

That much-anticipated call was never issued this year, however, as contestable conditions did not develop during the waiting period, and the giant appears to be entering its annual slumber until next season.
“After consulting with a large number of the Mavericks family - Contest Director Jeff Clark, longtime Mavericks competitors, agencies focused on environmental protection and public safety, surf forecasters, and our sponsor partners - we have decided to conclude the 2009 waiting period and turn our eyes towards next season,” said Mavericks CEO Keir J. Beadling.

“I want to personally thank our army of more than five-hundred special human beings and seventy-five committed organizations for their efforts in getting ready and staying on alert for Mother Nature this season.  It’s a tremendous undertaking unlike anything else, and we’re very lucky to have such a passionate support crew.”

Taking Care of Our Backyard. Mavericks is situated in the heart of one of the most productive marine ecosystems on the planet.  The decision to conclude the contest window was made only after much deliberation and consultation with Mavericks stakeholders, and due in large part to the fragile state of the ecosystem in the Mavericks environs this month.

“Mavericks is a natural phenomenon on ‘Hallowed Ground’ and the organizers, our partners, and the heroes who surf the break hold the environment in the highest esteem,” commented Beadling.

“Most of our environmental programs are focused on the beautiful natural environment surrounding the Mavericks break itself, since that’s where the company got its start and where we have the largest potential impact. The entire Mavericks family is committed to preserving the beauty and health of our natural environment, and we take this commitment very seriously.”

Contest organizers have consulted closely with Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (GFNMS), an agency dedicated to protecting the wildlife and the habitats of the part of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (Sanctuary) where the contest takes place.

GFNMS enforces the rules and regulations designed to protect one of the most robust and active marine ecosystems on Earth. Since the contest takes place during a time in which seabirds and marine mammals are engaged in breeding activities or in migrating through, the Sanctuary and Mavericks work together to help minimize wildlife disturbance and provide information to attendees about minimizing their impact on the environment.

Extending the waiting period beyond March this season would pose a unique set of challenges on this front.  Said GFNMS Superintendent Maria Brown, “The sanctuary had already extended the exemption for the contest period through March.

But the presence of listed and vulnerable species, newly-born harbor seal pups, migrating whales, and nesting birds make April a particularly sensitive time for wildlife in the Sanctuary.  Any wildlife disturbance by boats, people on foot, and aircraft can result in mortality.

Wildlife conservation is a concern throughout the entire year, but especially serious consequences can result if vulnerable species are not able to breed successfully at critical times during the year, including right now.”  Added Beadling, “We will continue to honor the concerns of GFNMS. Respect for the environment has been a core part of Mavericks’ DNA since day one. And we will not overlook this commitment; it’s simply too important.”