Jay Moriarity: time to fly | Photo by Vern Fisher

The HMB Surf Group Inc., which consists of a group of Maverick’s competitors, community members, long-time event coordinators and sponsors, today announced the official competitor lineup for the inaugural "The Jay at Maverick's Big Wave Invitational.”

The 24 invitees consist of surfers from all over California – including several locals – as well as Hawaii, Florida and other parts of the world. Also making the cut is nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater who just a week ago confirmed his interest in returning to Maverick’s to compete, nearly 10 years after his one and only appearance to the event to date.

This season’s Maverick’s competitor lineup, voted on by all former Maverick’s competitors, includes:

Chris Bertish (South Africa) / Shane Desmond (Santa Cruz)
Anthony Tashnick (Santa Cruz) / Kenny Collins (Santa Cruz)
Dave Wassel (Hawaii) / Carlos Burle (Brazil)
Grant Baker (South Africa) / Alex Martins (San Francisco)
Peter Mel (Santa Cruz) / Grant Washburn (San Francisco)
Ryan Seelbach (San Francisco) / Darryl Virostko (Santa Cruz)
Greg Long (San Clemente) / Zack Wormhoudt (Santa Cruz)
Mark Healey (Hawaii) / Shawn Dollar (Santa Cruz)
Ryan Augenstein (Santa Cruz) / Shane Dorian (Hawaii)
Rusty Long (San Clemente) / Tyler Smith (Santa Cruz)
Nathan Fletcher (Hawaii) / Matt Ambrose (Pacifica)
Kelly Slater (Florida) / Jamie Sterling (Hawaii)

“This lineup includes the world’s best Big Wave surfers. This is phenomenal roster for opening season of ‘The Jay at Maverick’s Big Wave Invitational,’” said Grant Washburn, one of the founders of the Half Moon Bay Surf Group and a 2010/2011 invitee. “These guys have been pushing the sport, and raising the bar with every swell. Every one of them is excited by the new direction of this event, and it is fitting that they get to be the first to surf in Jay Moriarity’s name.”

“To be part of ‘The Jay’ means a ton,” said Slater who came in second place at the Maverick’s contest in 2000. “I surfed two of (Jay’s) last waves with him in the 2000 event and am really stoked I had that opportunity. I made it through that heat and a few people were upset he hadn't so I hope to come back and make him proud.”

“The Jay at Maverick's Big Wave Invitational" will honor Jay Moriarity, one of the sport’s greatest watermen, who passed away unexpectedly at the age of 22 in a diving accident while visiting the Maldives Islands in 2001.

“(Jay) had a classic big wave stance and style that was as good as anyone's,” added Slater. “This event will be a good reminder of a friend of all of ours that we'll always have in our hearts and minds when surfing Maverick’s.”

In addition, the panel voted on 17 alternate surfers:

Josh Loya (Santa Cruz) Tyler Fox (Santa Cruz)
Colin Dwyer (Pacifica) Nic Lamb (Santa Cruz)
Danilo Couto (Brazil) Derek Dunfee (San Diego)
Ben Andrews (San Francisco) Andrew Marr (South Africa)
Travis Payne (Pacifica) Ion Banner (Half Moon Bay)
Kohl Christensen (Hawaii) Shawn Rhodes (Pacifica)
Mike Gerhardt (Santa Cruz) Garret McNamara (Hawaii)
Russel Smith (Santa Cruz) Jamie Mitchel (Australia)
Ben Wilkenson (Australia)

Opening Ceremony – Nov. 29

The official contest waiting period will kick off with the time-honored opening ceremony on Monday, Nov. 29 in Princeton-by-the-Sea. This year’s competitors will congregate on the beach at Maverick’s Pillar Point in the late afternoon before sunset for the traditional paddle out and prayer circle, followed by a golf ball drawing for heat placements.

Competitors, media and other invited guests will then celebrate the coming season at a gathering to take place at the Oceano Hotel.

The first annual "The Jay at Maverick's Big Wave Invitational" official contest window will be Dec. 1, 2010 - Feb. 28, 2011. During this time, event organizers will monitor a number of elements, including weather conditions and size of the swells and when all the conditions are in place, organizers will give competitors 48 hours notice to make their way to Half Moon Bay for the contest.

“The waiting period is clearly an anxious and exciting time, but its important to make sure that conditions are optimal so that we can ensure an extraordinary event that lives up to the legend that is Maverick’s,” said Darren Brilhart, “The Jay at Maverick’s Big Wave Invitational” event producer and veteran contest director.

The swells at Maverick’s typically have to reach 30-40 feet in order for the contest to happen and there have been years when no contest is held.

“We had some pretty stellar waves at Maverick’s already this week,” said Kenny "Skindog" Collins, local surfer and 2010/2011 invitee. “Looks like Mother Nature is gearing up to get this contest going and hopefully it continues that way into the season.”

“The Jay at Maverick’s Big Wave Invitational” has secured sponsorship for the next three seasons from Barracuda Networks. Jim Beam has also signed as a sponsor for the contest’s opening ceremony festivities.

Kelly Slater: no pressure, just show off

The stage is set. Hawaii is getting ready for the famous Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, the most waited jewels of world surfing, now in its 28th edition.

With the guiding light of Andy Irons, the waves will hit the Haleiwa Ali'i Beach Park for the Reef Hawaiian Pro, from November 12th. Then, it's time for another blessed event. The O'Neill World Cup of Surfing will see thousands of spectators gathering in Sunset Beach, between November 24th and December 6th.

Finally, there's the Billabong Pipe Masters, in Banzai Pipeline, for a tube riding heaven, held between December 8th-20th. The rules are pretty simple. The best surfer of the three events gets the privilege to own the heavy title.

The event is worth $900,000 in prize money. Also, you aren't going to miss the "Clash of the Legends" and the "World Miss Reef" final.

Kelly Slater and Stephanie Gilmore, the 2010 ASP World champions, will be surfing with no pressure and promise to send out a huge show to everyone out in the beach and online, throughout the world.

Surfing Hainan: always protected

The exotic South China Island of Hainan in the Wanning district hosted this years three day surfing festival with surfers from over 12 nations gathering for a friendly and fun time and enjoying some superb high performance 1m (3 feet) surf.

Australia's Mark Matthews is well known throughout the world for his amazing feats surfing massive waves but here in China he showed his skills extend to high performance small waves and he was announced surfer of the festival.

"It's definitely been one of the most awesome weeks of surfing for me here in China - We've scored quality waves on the beach breaks and the points, the people have been amazing and we've all just had such a great time - I'm looking forward to returning next year for certain." said Matthews.

Other surfers to standout on the final day of this festival included former world professional touring surfer Rob Bain (Australia) who dominated the Longboard and shortboard divisions along with Holly Beck (USA/LA), Robert "Wingnut" Weaver (USA) and Dane Jordan (Australia).

Regional Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) tour manager Dane Jordan visited this years event to assess the location with a view to running a high level ASP event here in 2011.

"Everyone here has enjoyed the hospitality of China and the Hainan Island people" said Jordan.

"We have surfed a variety of breaks and the consistency and quality has been been very good - The beaches, accommodation and all round facilities are top class and we will definitely endeavour to work with the government officials here in Hainan with the view to running an ASP event in 2011."

An agreement was signed with ASP aiming to run the first ever world sanctioned professional surfing event in China next year.

The local Surfing Hainan crew, particularly Brendan Sheridan, have been managing this festival for a number of years and ASP will also work closely with them, recognising their commitment to a healthy development of the sport in China, particularly this Wanning region which has an abundance of consistent quality surf locations and what we believe are the best waves in China.