- 29 October 2009 | Surfing
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 Stormsurf.com 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.
Presenting Sponsor Sony Ericsson returns
Beadling also announced that Sony Ericsson is the presenting sponsor of this year’s contest, adding, “We are thrilled to be able to partner with a company that shares both our passion for innovation as well as our commitment to environmental preservation.” On Contest day this season, spectators can recycle their old phones at the Sony Ericsson tent or take a minute and recharge their current mobile phones. Any proceeds from the recycling program will be donated to helping our coastline. Additional contest sponsors include Jim Beam® Bourbon, Barracuda Networks, Moose Guen and Jane Sutherland of MVision, Facebook, the Bay Club, The Corporate Law Group, Gnarly Head Wines, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Airship Ventures, Vertical Response, Surfer Magazine, Oceano Hotel & Spa, Stormsurf.com, Rickshaw Bagworks, and Capture Technologies.
Contest organizers work closely with Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (GFNMS), to protect 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 productive marine ecosystems on the planet. 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 will help to minimize wildlife disturbance and provide information to attendees about minimizing their impact on the environment.
Save The Waves Coalition will again be partnering with Mavericks to ensure the onsite presence of the Green Team to assist spectators in recycling and packing their trash on contest day. Additionally Save The Waves will be announcing the results of research study on the Value of Mavericks to the local and regional economy which was executed by the University of Hawai'i at Manoa and Stanford University's Center for Responsible Travel. Other environmental associates working closely with Mavericks to ensure that the ocean, beach and surrounding area are protected include the San Mateo County Harbor District, the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, Thank You Ocean, the California Coastal Commission, Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth, World Savvy, Half Moon Bay Coastside Chamber of Commerce Eco-Tourism Initiative, Livability Project, and the San Mateo County History Museum. More information regarding Mavericks’ Environmental Policy can be found at http://maverickssurf.com/Help/Environment.aspx.
Alternative viewing options
As part of its ongoing efforts to reduce foot traffic at the event and entice fans to experience the Contest remotely, this season Mavericks has launched its most ambitious webcast offering to-date. Millions of fans witnessed the 2008 Contest live webcast footage. Mavericks will once again be webcast live over the Internet—this year bringing an unprecedented level of interactivity in partnership with Facebook and Ustream. Fans will also have the option of watching the contest while on the go, thanks to a deal with FLO TV, provider of the award-winning live mobile FLO TV™ service. Through the deal with FLO TV, surf fans will be able to watch the competition on mobile handsets starting on November 1 and on in-car entertainment systems and consumer electronics devices like the FLO TV™ Personal Television launching later in the year. The “It’s On!” SMS campaign will once again allow fans to sign up to receive a cell phone text message alert as soon as the Contest green light is given (text “MAVERICKS” to 81595). And the day’s activities will again be available via a unique live webcast viewing event at AT&T Park—“baseball’s perfect address” and the home of the San Francisco Giants. Finally, Jim Beam will host a number of smaller webcast viewing parties at key west coast bars and restaurants to be announced. As always, surfers and fans alike can track the waves, stay informed on Contest announcements, check out Mavericks™ official merchandise, and buy tickets for the AT&T Park Viewing Event at the official Mavericks website, www.maverickssurf.com.