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.”

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'Waveriders' the film will be released in cinemas throughout Ireland, Northern Ireland and UK on Friday April 3.

WAVERIDERS is the previously untold story of the unlikely Irish roots of the worldwide surfing phenomenon and today's pioneers of Irish big wave surfing.

The story unfolds through the inspirational and ultimately tragic history of Irish/Hawaiian legendary waterman, George Freeth, the son of an Irishman, who was responsible for the rebirth of this sport of Hawaiian kings in the early twentieth century.

With its distinguished cast of world-renowned Irish, British and Irish/American surfers WAVERIDERS journeys full-circle from Hawaii to California and back to Irish shores following Freeth‟s wave of influence.

The journey reaches a spectacular climax when the surfers conquer the biggest swell ever to have been ridden in Ireland by catching monster waves of over fifty feet.

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Mark Occhilupo 

One of surfings great champions, Mark Occhilupo, put the ASP competitive rash vest back on today and took his place as a wildcard in the Drug Aware Pro in good 1.5m (4feet) surf at Margaret River.

The 43 year old former ASP world champion (1999) has an affinity with Margaret River having won this event twice, the first time very early in his esteemed career at 19 way back in 1985 and the second time in the twighlight years as a 40 year old in 2006.

Occhilupo scored a reasonable 6:00 ride mid heat and only required a 4.9 to progress but in the end he placed 3rd  on a two wave heat tally of 10.65 behind rising stars Tanner Gudauskas (USA) on 14.25 and Dion Atkinson  (10.95/AUS).

“I love it here and the organizers always invite me back and it’s just a great place” said Occhilupo.

“The disappointment at losing is still in my system, I really thought I had a chance of progressing through that heat and I was in full competitive mode out there today – I doubt that competitive mode will ever leave the system but now I am knocked out I’ll enjoy my time at the event and relax with my family here – the disappointment will ease away!”

Fellow ASP World Dream Tour veteran and local surfing idol Jake Paterson (Yallingup /WA) joined Occhilupo as an eliminated wildcard today. Paterson had a shocker of a heat scoring just 4 points while Leonardo Neves (Brazil) posted the mornings top scoring heat with an excellent 16 point tally and  Aritz Aranburu (Spain) in 2nd on 15.45.

Other impressive heat winners today included local West Australian surfers Jay Davies (Yallingup) and Luke Campbell (Trigg Point/Perth). Davies is looking particularly ominous and scored the day’s top scoring ride with an outstanding 9.33.

With much larger waves forecast for tomorrow’s round three Davies is looking forward to the challenges ahead.

“Bring on the bigger waves for me” said Davies.

“It’s definitely my best chance to do well here, I know the wave well, especially when it starts to max out size wise and tomorrow should be fun.”

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