24 surfers gather for the Mavericks Surf Contest opening season

November 3, 2009 | Surfing

Mavericks Surf Contest 2009/2010

The waiting period for the 2009/2010 Mavericks Surf Contest® presented by Sony Ericsson has officially begun.

On a picture perfect Friday afternoon, more than two-dozen of the best big-wave surfers from around the world, along with family members, friends, and members of the media gathered on the beach at Pillar Point to celebrate the opening of the new 2009/2010 Contest season.

The only big-wave paddle-in contest on the mainland, the waiting period for this year’s Mavericks Surf Contest® will last from November 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010.

During this window, the 24 invitees will wait for Mother Nature to conjure up the “perfect storm” that will produce waves that are 30-40 feet in height. Once such a swell is on the horizon, the 24 contestants themselves will vote on whether to call the Contest.

As the invitees and alternates lined the beach for this year’s photo shoot, they were greeted by a surprise guest. Surfing pioneer Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz gave a heartfelt speech in which he spoke of how proud he was of each of these men for the contributions that they have made to the sport of big-wave surfing.

“As long as you surf, surfing will keep you,” said the 90 year-old Paskowitz, whose son Abraham and grandson Levi were also on hand. These men were also addressed by long-time Mavericks surfer Peter Mel, as well as by former contest champions Greg Long, Darryl “Flea” Virostko, and Anthony Tashnick.

Each man described what surfing Mavericks means to them, and all spoke of how proud they were to be part of the brotherhood of Mavericks chargers.

Everyone then paddled out towards Mavericks to continue the tradition of joining in a circle to honor the new big-wave season at Mavericks.

Mavericks competitor Tim West, Jr. summed up the emotions that were present in the circle, saying, “The paddle out was rad and was definitely the most spiritual one I have ever experienced.”

The festivities as well as the perfect weather lasted well into the evening as the surfers, their families, and friends gathered on the lawn outside of the Oceano Hotel and Spa for eating, drinking, and dancing, as well as for this year’s heat drawings.

Guests enjoyed surf-inspired cocktails from Jim Beam, along with Sierra Nevada on tap, while speaking with excitement about what this season’s El Niño weather pattern might bring.

All agreed that Mavericks Matriarch Katherine Kelly Clark had outdone herself once again in organizing this memorable event.

Contest invitee Kenny “Skindog” Collins added, “This was the best opening ceremony celebration ever! Everyone’s looking good and healthy, and it was great to get together.” Each competitor also received a gift package that included newly launched Mavericks sunglasses, belts, and 100% recycled hoodies, a Sony Ericsson W518A phone, and a limited edition Mavericks/Jim Beam bottle and blanket.

The Field is Set. Unlike other big-wave contests, Mavericks invitees draw numbered golf balls to determine whom they will compete against in the six-man, first round heats.

The invitees themselves have chosen this method of seeding because they believe it mirrors the unpredictability of Mavericks itself in that “you never know what you’re going to get.”

Below are the official random heat draws presented in the order they were chosen by the surfers themselves for the 2009 Contest:

Heat One: Evan Slater, Darryl “Flea” Virostko, Ion Banner, Dave Wassell, Grant “Twiggy” Baker, Tyler Smith

Heat Two: Peter Mel, Shane Desmond, Zach Wormhoudt, Nathan Fletcher, Matt Ambrose, Anthony Tashnick

Heat Three: Brock Little, Tim West Jr., Kenny “Skindog” Collins, Josh Loya, Greg Long, Carlos Burle

Heat Four: Chris Bertish, Grant Washburn, Ryan Seelbach, Ben Andrews, Shawn Rhodes, Jamie Sterling

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.

SurferToday.com uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more on our About section.