VIDEO: Surf Contest Safety Plan Unveiled at Mavericks Public Meeting

Briefing at Half Moon Bay Yacht Club regarding public safety plan and spectator viewing arrangements.

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).



Brian Ginna January 06, 2012 at 04:06 PM
""It is now more an event for the community," " What a joke. Besides some sponsor money being shifted to B&GC (for unknown reasons - is it to placate the anti-traffic & anti-development folks?), the community at large benefits very little from the very short recognition of the event (granted, it is worldwide, but short-lived and quickly pushed aside in the news cycle). The event, if it even happens this year, should be scaled even more back to the original intent. Just another surf competition, except that it cannot be viewed live.
Mike Alifano January 06, 2012 at 05:47 PM
This contest and event will benefit the coastside immensely. Keeping the spectators of the cliff and beach for both safety and environment concerns is paramount. That leaves the opportunity to keep them in the harbor and surrounding areas to the benefit of the local businesses. I know this is the first event for the new non-profit group (Mavericks Invitational LLC) and they are committed to running an event with the coastside community in mind rather than pure profits like the last for profit company. All the hotels will be sold out, up and down the entire coast, restaurants will be busy and local business will flourish. The buzz about Mavs and HMB will be huge (all over the news last night) and the City could use more TOT revenue. Boys and Girls Club of the Coastside will handle all the parking and stand to raise a considerable amount of money that will stay on the coastside. The actual contest will be feed live to large monitors at the festival and throughout local bars and restaurants and it will be online live also. I really don't see your logic about scaling back the contest, its going to draw a huge amount of people no matter how small you try to make it. If you know anything about the break its hard to see on a clear day without binoculars or a zoom lens. Having people safe and together is the best way to view it. Would you like to volunteer and help us park cars?
Brian Ginna January 06, 2012 at 06:24 PM
One conference at the Ritz does more for the HMB economy than this event. The short-term impact from this is a nice little boost - long term is negligible, except when taking into account some economic benefit from having a world-renowned break out the back door. The safety impact, all but ignored in prior contests and with ridiculous consequences two years ago, is great. Of course, that keeps the community safer and keeps POST's barren landscape from being trampled upon. But beyond that, it really "adds" nothing - just defensive in nature.
Grant January 06, 2012 at 10:25 PM
These are all positive developments. I'd hoped the new venture would manage to get local authorities to help close access and handle the crowds. That cliff is dangerous for crowds to scramble over and on. Moving the judges into the water instead of building a temporary structure for them is also a good move. Cheers to Rocky and Jeff for turning this around and doing it right (and persevering through a lot of b.s. on the way), with a focus on returning value to the community. In point of fact, due to the relative unpredictability of swell dates and optimal surf conditions under which to hold the contest, it has a lengthy waiting period spanning several months, during which anticipation (and media coverage) builds.
Mike Alifano January 07, 2012 at 07:20 PM
I agree with all of Grant's points. Brian Ginna on the other hand is totally off on his first point regarding "One Conference" It's not just the HMB economy that stands to benefit but the entire coastside. When that contest gets called the rooms will fill up faster than ever and all the local businesses will feel the impact than just "One Conference" at the Ritz. Come on Brian, don't you see the bigger picture....the entire Coastside? The last few days was just an opening ceremony and the harbor/coastside hotels, restaurants and bars were packed.
Brian Ginna January 07, 2012 at 09:34 PM
With such compelling evidence, absolutely none of it anecdotal, who could continue to argue with you? I mean, those are some good, hard figures. No conjecture or guessing there.
Conrad Peterson January 07, 2012 at 10:33 PM
I see no numbers in your claims that "the community at large benefits very little from the very short recognition of the event" and "One conference at the Ritz does more for the HMB economy than this event." It's conjecture and opinion, unsupported by any facts.
Laura McHugh January 08, 2012 at 09:45 AM
Will the financial books for this non-profit sponsored event be open to review - because $312,500 from ticket proceeds (if sold out) is a LOT of money. $30K for the permit, how much for additional police support, or does the permit fee include $ to offset increased patrol/other agency costs? What else? Past contests had no direct revenue source - just the collateral positive impact to local businesses. I am interested in seeing how the money side of this plays out.
alison hanley November 24, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Laura: Did you ever get any financial data on this? I am doing a final assignment for a Sport s Marketing Project at Stanford and am searching out Funding, Revenue and ticket sales for Mavericks 2012 and comparing to this year. Thank you. (ahanley@apr.com)


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