2009 Mavericks Surf Contest

The 2009 Mavericks Surf Contest® waiting period has begun. On Tuesday, more than two-dozen of the best big-wave surfers from around the world, along with their families, friends and media, assembled on the beach at Pillar Point to celebrate the opening of the new 2009 Contest season. The only big-wave paddle-in contest on the mainland, Mavericks has a waiting period from January 1, 2009 to March 31, 2009. During this window, the 24 invited surfers will be waiting for the “perfect storm” to produce waves 30-40 feet high and for Contest Director Jeff Clark to give the green light for the event.

The opening ceremonies began in true Mavericks tradition with the annual photo shoot of the invitees and alternates lining the beach with their big-wave “guns” behind them.  Clark gave a short address acknowledging the skill, commitment and courage that each of the watermen standing in front of him possess, and savored the moment: “We have to be the luckiest people in the world to do what we do in such a wonderful place,” Clark remarked.  “Mavericks puts everyone to the test; remember how precious time is on this earth.”

Clark then introduced each of the surfers to the enthusiastic crowd, one-by-one, highlighting their contribution to the Contest and to the sport of big-wave surfing. This year’s Contest includes invitees from Brazil, Hawaii, South Africa and the mainland United States. All then paddled out towards Mavericks to join hands and form a traditional circle to honor the new big-wave season at Mavericks. Clark personally thanked the surfers for being a part of this year’s event, reflected on the bond they all share with each other, their respect for Mother Nature, and prayed for a successful and safe event.

The ceremonies continued into the evening with a reception at Sam’s Chowder House where the surfers and their friends and families gathered for food, fun and the highly anticipated heat drawings.  The evening felt like a family reunion as guests brought their children, talked about their surfing plans for the future and shared their individual experiences with the massive surf that has swept through California already this big-wave season.  Guests enjoyed Sierra Nevada on tap, and were treated throughout the night to the sounds of local surf band extraordinaire The Wander Inn’s.  Each competitor also received a limited edition Mavericks/Jim Beam® gift bottle.

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Kay Barger 

Kai Barger (HAW), 19, has won the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships, defeating fellow Finalist Jadson Andre (BRA), 20, to claim the ASP World Junior Title.

“I’m as high as Saturn’s kite baby!” Barger said. “Out of all the incredible surfers in this event, like Dusty (Payne) and Granger (Larsen) and Julian (Wilson), I probably had the least amount of confidence, but I guess this goes to show that every dog has his day and today’s mine!”

While Andre opened up the Final with two strong scores, Barger quickly rallied, grabbing a 6.67 before usurping the Brazilian with an explosive 8.67 for a series of forehand blasts on the Narrabeen lefthanders. The Hawaiian’s 15.34 out of a possible 20 would prove too much for Andre to overtake and would see Barger crowned the newest ASP World Junior Champion.

“To be honest, I can’t remember much of the Final with all the cameras and everything,” Barger said. “It’s a blur. I had so much fun. I’m tripping out right now. I never thought this would happen to me.”

Barger now joins one of the most prestigious clubs in professional surfing with his ASP World Junior Title. Past champions include Dream Tour stalwarts such as Joel Parkinson (AUS), 27, Jordy Smith (ZAF), 20, Adriano de Souza (BRA), 21, and fellow Hawaiian’s Kekoa Bacalso (HAW), 23, and three-time ASP World Champion Andy Irons (HAW), 30.

“To be part of such a crazy group of surfers feels amazing,” Barger said. “I really don’t have the words to express how it feels. It’s crazy, and to be given the preferred seed on the ’QS is going to help so much.”

In addition to the prestigious ASP World Junior Title, Barger is also awarded preferred seeding into all ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) events in 2009 – a great advantage in the qualification quest for the elite ASP World Tour.

Andre, the No. 1 seed in the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships, put in an incredible performance at North Narrabeen today, including his acquisition of the event’s only perfect 10, but was unable to overtake Barger in the Final.

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Mamat

Cherating Beach local Mamat climbed atop the podium this afternoon to accept his first place Men’s Open Division victory after a brilliant display of surfing under testing conditions in the closely contested final. He received the grand prize of a new Billabong surfboard, a Nixon watch, Billabong backpack, T-shirt, and boardshorts.

He was over the moon with excitement, exclaiming, “I’m so stoked to win today, especially in these conditions. I didn’t think I could do it…I thought one of the younger and lighter guys would win for sure, but somehow I did it!” He added, “I really want to thank Billabong and the government and all the sponsors for having this event here. It’s so great!”

The anticipated increase in swell didn’t materialize today, resulting in weakening 2 foot surf that was a challenge especially for the larger surfers. But local knowledge was the key, and Mamat found the right waves and blasted them apart to outscore his opponents and come home with the victory.

In the Grommets Division Yen, who also nabbed second place in the Men’s Open division, was the first place winner, showing his smooth style and wise wave selection.

In the Women’s Division, Noriko Kanno picked her way through the better set waves to rack up the most points for the win. Incredibly this was her first experience surfing at Cherating Beach.

Billabong’s Paul Anderson surfed his favorite blue bomber to victory in the Master’s Division. Paul has surfed Cherating a few times in the past year and knew exactly what kind of equipment would get the job done.

In the Bodyboard Division Jarul Aliff Zulkifli slid and spun his way into first place, a very challenging feat considering the size and power of the waves during the final.

In addition to their trophies, all the finalists received tons of Billabong, Nixon, Kustom, and Von Zipper goodies including boardshorts, T-shirts, caps, thongs, backpacks, and wallets.

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