Mavericks: one of the most powerful waves on the planet | Photo: Fred Pompermayer

Jeff Clark never gives up when the Mavericks' prestige is at stake.

With the first storms of the winter building energy and getting ready to unleash their fury on Mavericks, local residents have gathered financial and community support for a virtual contest that recognizes exceptional performance throughout the entire big wave season.

Mavericks pioneer Jeff Clark and entrepreneur Chris Cuvelier announced the launch of the first annual Mavericks Surf Awards.

Jeff Clark, who first surfed Mavericks in 1975 at 17 years old and founded the original Mavericks surf contest, has partnered with Half Moon Bay resident and founder of Zola, Chris Cuvelier, to form a video performance contest to honor Mavericks and the athletes that surf it.

"Our mission is to celebrate Mavericks and support the men and women who have dedicated their lives to surfing this amazing spot," notes Clark.

"When the WSL decided to cancel the contest at Mavericks, it was yet another sign that the times have changed, and we need to change, too."

Clark acknowledges that "the logistics and politics of running a one-day surf event make it incredibly difficult," but still wants to recognize the best of the best every season."

"The Mavericks Surf Awards is a video performance contest where athletes and videographers submit their best surf videos of Mavericks throughout the season, and winners are selected for various categories.

Mavericks: Jeff Clark and Chris Cuvelier will run a video performance contest to honor all men and women who defy this wave | Photo: Fred Pompermayer

A Contest for Everyone

All surfers - men and women, seasoned professionals, and up-and-comers - are eligible to enter.

A significant cash prize purse will be divided across five categories: Male Performer of the Year, Female Performer of the Year, Biggest Wave, Best Wave, and Best Barrel.

Ninety percent of the prize money for each category will be awarded to the athlete and 10 percent to the videographer.

The window to submit videos is November 1, 2019, through April 15, 2020, and will culminate in an awards ceremony in Half Moon Bay in May.

"We aim to celebrate the wave, provide financial support to the athletes, promote unity, inclusion, equality, and environmental stewardship, provide value back to sponsors, and promote water safety," added Cuvelier.

The event website will launch in November and will feature stunning photos and videos, profile the surfers, and document life in and around Mavericks and the big wave community.

Brazilian big wave surfer Maya Gabeira is looking forward to the new format.

"After four years without an event, it's about time the place gets attention and support through a new format. I hold Mavericks in a very special place in my memories," expressed Gabeira.

Mavericks: the new contest format wants highlight completed waves | Photo: Fred Pompermaye

Completed Waves Only

Mavericks has been known to create 50-to-60-foot faces and to be one of the most dangerous waves in the world. Safety is, as always, paramount to the surfers.

Clark was adamant that, in order to qualify for entry, the surfer must complete the wave.

Big wave surfer Luca Padua, a Half Moon Bay resident and the youngest person to surf Mavericks, is an official adviser to the contest.

"I'm stoked that Jeff and Chris are placing such importance on water safety and implementing rules about making waves to win," underlines Padua.

"We want to see progression in the sport, not people paddling themselves into unmakeable waves."

Mavericks Surf Awards is meeting with a number of big-wave surfers who have extensive experience surfing the break to become official judges of the contest.

A ceremonial paddle out to open the big wave season will take place on October 25, 2019, in Half Moon Bay.

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