Game on at Maverick's

Frank Quirarte

As a big northwest swell bears down on Half Moon Bay, Calf., organizers and surfers in the Mavericks Invitational are scrambling to get ready for the contest this weekend.

With a massive swell looming in the Pacific Ocean this weekend, big-wave surf contest hype is reaching an all-time high this week. Organizers for all four big-wave events, The Eddie, Red Bull Jaws, Nelscott Reef and Mavericks Invitational are all poised to make a call to run their respective events.

As of the last pass of the North Pacific satellite, unfavorable winds will accompany the swell headed to Hawaii and most likely not be a good call for the Eddie or Jaws events. And with this mornings' Facebook post by the Nelscott Reef event organizers conceding, all eyes are now focused on Mavericks.

Late this afternoon the official call was posted online, the Mavericks Invitational will run on Sunday barring any unforeseen changes in weather or surf.

"The weekend swell should fall into the 15 foot-Hawaiian category," says Mark Sponsler, Maverick's weather guru and founder of "That should translate to solid thirty to forty-foot faces and with the winds, tides and swell direction all optimum it should be a good event."

The lineup has not changed since the 2010 event with top big wave surfers Peter Mel, Kelly Slater, Mark Healy and past Maverick's Champions, Greg Long, Grant "Twiggy" Baker, Anthony Tashnick and reigning champion Chris Bertish all slated to compete.

The last Mavericks event ran in 2010 hosting some of the biggest waves ever contested in a surf event. The swell heading towards Mavericks this weekend will not be as large as 2010, but still serve up some monster-sized waves.

One of the biggest changes this year will be the addition of a contest viewing festival held on the grounds of the Oceano Hotel in Pillar Point Harbor. Other than the free webcast on the event site, the viewing festival will be one of the only venues where spectators will be able to watch the event as it unfolds.

These changes were necessary after spectators were caught off guard at the 2010 contest and some injured by a rogue wave that washed through the viewing area along Maverick's beach. This year the beach and surrounding bluffs will be closed off the public.

For festival ticket information, parking and webcast visit

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