Top surfers from Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz and around the world opened the big wave surf contest on Friday with prayers and a paddle out at Mavericks Beach just outside Half Moon Bay.
Seventeen competitors, alternates, and former Mavericks contest champions participated in the ceremony, including 3-time winner and now-retired Darryl "Flea" Virostko from Santa Cruz.
Other opening ceremonies participants came from South Africa, Australia and Brazil. Hawaii's Kohl Christensen wore a "Live Like Sion" shirt commemorating , the surfer who traveled from Hawaii and while riding Mavericks' last big waves of the 2010-2011 winter season.
San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley and State Assemblyman Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) provided opening remarks, while Mavericks Invitational CEO Rocky Raynor presented each surfer with a ceremonial ti leaf and led the group in an opening prayer.
Afterwards, the group completed the opening ceremonies by paddling out to form a prayer circle on the water modeled after the Hawaiian tradition. The greater Half Moon Bay community also participated in the paddle out and prayer circle, including members of the and and Half Moon Bay resident Mike Alifano.
Adding to the afternoon's excitement was the buzz of a helicopter flying over the surf break, blufftops and beach filming , the Hollywood film portrayal of Mavericks surfer Jay Moriarity starring Gerard Butler. The film has been since October.
and Mavericks veteran Jeff Clark was not at the ceremony. Clark was reportedly out on the break working with the crew as they filmed scenes from the movie.
On Friday evening, surfers celebrated into the evening at a dinner and party at the in Princeton. They also drew their heat position for the day of the contest. Results are as follows:
*=present at opening ceremony and paddle out at Mavericks Beach
See coverage of last year's Mavericks opening ceremonies on Half Moon Bay Patch .