Mavericks Surf Contest

On just 24 hours notice between November 1, 2009 and March 31, 2010, 24 of the world’s best big-wave surfers will be summoned to Half Moon Bay, home of Mavericks, one of the most majestic and infamous surf breaks on Earth.

There, they will test their individual skills and vie to be crowned champion of the 2009/2010 Mavericks Surf Contest® Presented by Sony Ericsson.  Competitors will face the dangerous elements of the frigid northern California waters in search of the perfect ride on waves reaching heights of 30 to 40 feet or more.

“The 24” make the call.  And according to Mavericks CEO Keir J. Beadling, this contest seasons adds a new and exciting element:  “This season we’re embarking on a new chapter, as the Mavericks competitors will choose the day. Once potentially contestable conditions are identified, ‘the 24’ will vote and determine whether to pull the trigger.  If they say ‘go,’ we go, and that’s exactly the way it should be at Mavericks.”   Commented longtime Mavericks surfer and Contest competitor Kenny “Skindog” Collins, “This Mavericks Contest combined with this season’s El Niño is going to be historic!”

El Niño in-play. Official Surf Forecaster Mark Sponsler of says there is good reason to be hopeful:  “The El Niño season, which has already begun, should bring a higher number of storms moving from the International Dateline into the Gulf of Alaska than in years previous. Those storms should have the potential to push larger and more consistent surf down the Pacific Coast into California. It's likely there will be several good opportunities to hold the contest between now and March 31 when the contest window closes.”

Once the contestants receive the green light alert, they have just 24 hours to arrive for the event.  The international roster of invited surfers consists of, in alphabetical order: Matt Ambrose, Ben Andrews, Grant Baker, Ion Banner, Chris Bertish, Carlos Burle, Kenny Collins, Shane Desmond, Nathan Fletcher, Brock Little, Greg Long, Josh Loya, Peter Mel, Shawn Rhodes, Ryan Seelbach, Evan Slater, Tyler Smith, Jamie Sterling, Anthony Tashnick, Darryl Virostko, Grant Washburn, Dave Wassell, Tim West, Zach Wormhoudt.

Also named were the 15 alternates, in order of priority: Alex Martins, Danilo Couto, Mark Healey, Tyler Fox, Rusty Long, Nic Lamb, Jamie Mitchell, Mike Gerhardt, Russell Smith, Kealii Mamala, Garrett McNamara, Andrew Marr, Lawton Smith, John Whittle, Colin Dwyer.

Record Prize Purse and Jim Beam Jersey at stake

This year, the invitees will compete for a record-breaking $150,000 prize purse, including $50,000 to the Champion.  The purse is personally funded by Mavericks benefactors Moose Guen and Jane Sutherland of MVision, and Barracuda Networks.

Mavericks will also introduce the “Jim Beam Jersey” to this year’s lineup—a distinctive jersey to be worn by the 2008 Mavericks Champion as he battles to defend his hard-earned title.

Jim Beam will also offer fans a limited edition Contest label along with a $5,000 donation to benefit Save the Waves—an environmental coalition dedicated to preserving the world's surf spots and their surrounding environments. In addition, a $5,000 "Gnarliest Drop" award will be offered to the surfer who exhibits the most impressive drop-in of the day.