Mavericks Invitational surf , contest organizers, and public agencies briefed local residents and business owners on Thursday night about the logistics of the highly anticipated one-day event scheduled to take place at the big wave surf break in Half Moon Bay.
With competitor judging and support on the water and spectator viewing restricted to the area outside the at Pillar Point Harbor — or online at Surfline.com — Mavericks Invitational CEO Rocky Raynor emphasized that this year's competition was significantly changed compared to previous years.
"It is now more an event for the community," Raynor said. Changes were made for the public safety of the community, spectators and the competitors themselves, Raynor said.
Raynor also pointed to a photo of the cliff leading down from the blufftops overlooking Mavericks, saying that it was not a safe environment for crowds due to the erosion in the area.
Lt. Lisa Williams with the Coastside Patrol Bureau of the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office said that deputies from her agency would enforce the land segment of the operations, which include traffic control and limiting access to the beach and blufftop areas through barricades. Deputies will use bicycles and horses to facilitate mobility in the area, she said.
San Mateo County Parks will also monitor for spectators who try to watch the competition on the bluffs or from Pillar Point Marsh and ask them them to leave, said agency representative Scott Lombardi.
Battalion Chief Ari Delay said that the would be working with American Medical Response ambulances and the Coast Guard in the area of fire and rescue on the land segment side of the operations. An on-call ambulance will be at the harbor boat launch ramp for the safety of contestants, while another vehicle will be in downtown Princeton for festivalgoers, Delay said.
John Draper, Pillar Point Assistant Harbormaster, said that his agency will keep a watch on water safety with patrol boats on the water and will work with lifeguards and the Coast Guard. The Harbor Patrol boat and several personal watercrafts (known commonly as jetskis) will be be stationed on-scene at the contest for the surfers' safety.
The personal watercrafts will be positioned to pull contestants from the water in need of medical assistance to the patrol boat, which in turn will be able to transport the contestant to the harbor launch ramp. At the launch ramp, medical support and "possibly" access for any helicopters will be available to airlift a surfer out of the area if needed, according to Draper.
Clark said that a line of buoys would separate the harbor patrol boats and personal watercrafts from the spectators watching from boats for contestant safety.
Capistrano Rd. and Airport St. will be closed starting at 6:30 a.m. - 7 a.m. on the day of the contest, organizers said.
Local residents and business owners will be able to get their cars through the blocked-off areas by showing a parking pass that can be obtained at the prior to the day of the contest, or by showing proof of address on a utility bill.
No parking will be allowed on Highway 1; those looking to park will be directed to paid parking at the Half Moon Bay Airport via Capistrano Rd. All parking proceeds will benefit the Boys and Girls Club of the Coastside in Half Moon Bay.
Entrance to the festival will be by restaurant near the corner of Prospect Ave. and Capistrano Rd., Raynor said.
"All I wanted to do was go out there and surf this wave," said Clark, "and look what it's turned into. It's absolutely amazing," he said.
Clark said he spent Thursday with Mavericks contest competitors from Brazil, South Africa and Hawaii, along with water patrol from Hawaii.
On Friday afternoon, contest competitors and alternates from as far away as Brazil, South Africa and Hawaii will gather at Mavericks Beach for a public to officially mark the opening of the contest window which began on Jan. 1. The window ends on March 31.
To watch portions of the information meeting held at the Half Moon Bay Yacht Club, click on the series of accompanying videos attached in the media box to the right (titled by topic and presenter).