Chris Bertish riding the Mavericks giants

After more than three months of waiting, contestants and fans alike were rewarded for their patience with a historic day for big-wave surfing, as Chris Bertish etched his name in Mavericks lore and was crowned champion of 2009/2010 Mavericks Surf Contest Presented by Sony Ericsson and Barracuda Networks.

With waves described by the competitors as some of the biggest they have ever paddled into, and in front of a crowd of approximately 50,000 fans, Bertish outlasted Shane Desmond, Anthony Tashnick, Dave Wassel, Carlos Burle, and Kenny “Skindog” Collins to claim the Jim Beam Jersey and a $50,000 check from prize purse sponsors Moose Guen and Jane Sutherland of MVision and Barracuda Networks.

The total prize purse of $150,000 was the largest in big-wave surfing history, with $50,000 going to Bertish, $25,000 to Desmond in second, $15,000 to Tashnick in third, $10,000 to Wassel in fourth, $8,000 to Burle in fifth, and $6,000 to Collins in sixth.

2008 Champion Greg Long summed up the day perfectly while passing along the Jim Beam Champion’s jersey to Bertish.

“The entire book of big wave surfing was rewritten today.” Bertish, a native of Cape Town, South Africa, was overcome with emotion, adding, “It was an honor just to be here today and paddle out with these other guys. I flew 36 hours to be here, and this has been a dream come true.”

The competitors were greeted by huge waves as soon as the Contest began, with heats one through four being won by Dave Wassel, Peter Mel, Alex Martins, and Ryan Seelbach, respectively.

“These were definitely the biggest waves I have ever paddled into,” said second-place winner, Shane Desmond.

After two memorable semi-finals which were won by Anthony Tashnick and Carlos Burle, the hard-charging Bertish pulled through in the final round.

The Gnarly Head Wines “Gnarliest Drop” Award, given to the surfer who pulls off the most impressive drop of the day, was won by Anthony Tashnick.

Commenting on the opportunities that today’s conditions offered, Tashnick said, “There are no excuses on a day like today; it was perfect. Whatever you wanted, you could take.”

The Jay Moriarity Award, given to the surfer who best exemplifies the spirit and passion that Jay was famous for, was won by Dave Wassel. Wassel, who thanked the Half Moon Bay locals for accepting him, was also blown away by today’s conditions.

“It was undoubtedly the largest surf any paddle-in contest has ever seen.”

Despite the roughly 50,000 spectators in attendance, the Save The Waves Green Team was able to minimize the impact that the fans had on the area surrounding this world-famous break.

As in years past, Green Team staff members separated trash and educated fans on how to reduce their carbon footprint.

Added Maverick Environmental Manager Joao de Macedo, “Mavericks is a special place for all of us, and we’re thrilled to say that even with today’s foot traffic, the Save The Waves Green Team was able to ensure this pristine condition."

Source: Mavericks Surf Contest

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