With the opening of the window for the big-wave surf contest at Mavericks in Half Moon Bay today, the surfing competitors are marking the start of the season with an opening ceremony, a contest organizer said.
At 2 p.m., the 24 competitors attended the ceremony at Mavericks, a spot known for its massive swells less than a mile off of the San Mateo County coast near Pillar Point Harbor, surfer and organizer Jeff Clark said.
The Mavericks Invitational competitors lined up and introduced themselves before assembling for a prayer circle.
Rocky Raynor spoke to the crowd, thanking the sponsors and the board of directors of the Mavericks Invitational.
"A very special and sacred moment for Half Moon Bay," said Raynor.
Clark addressed the crowd while ceremonial ti leaves for protection were handed to each surfer.
"These guys have dedicated their lives to chasing waves," said Clark. "When it all goes wrong, they have each other's back and will do everything in their power to keep this family together."
The opening ceremony continued later into the afternoon at Old Princeton Landing at 460 Capistrano Road.
Clark said today is a "kickoff to the season and a coming together" of the surfers who hail from as near and far as the Bay Area, Southern California, Brazil, Hawaii and South Africa.
Mavericks Invitational is a one-day, invitation-only surfing competition held at the legendary surf break. The contest waiting period will run through the end of March 2013.
Ideal conditions failed to materialize last season, just like in the 2010-2011 season, and the contest was not held.
Clark encouraged any and all surfing enthusiasts and spectators to join today's opening ceremony. He suggested bringing a wetsuit for those planning to enter the water.
More information about this year's competition can be found at www.mavericksinvitational.com.
— Bay City News
Additional reporting by Stuart Nafey.