It’s on. Word went out yesterday that the world-famous Mavericks Invitational surf contest is set for this Sunday, January 20 in Pillar Point, Half Moon Bay. With monster waves in the forecast, the excitement surrounding the event is pretty contagious. It’s the type of event that brings surfing fans, even those who’ve never touched a surfboard, let alone thought of standing on one, out in droves. Take into account that it’s the first time in three years the waves have been deemed contest worthy, and you’ve got the makings of a great weekend. Here's what to know before heading out.
Changes for Spectators
But before you start making plans to try and get in on the action, there are some big changes in the rules this year for spectators. There will be no beach access on Sunday. Authorities from the San Mateo County Sheriff, CHP, and California Parks (the list goes and on), are working together to close all roads to Pillar Point. There will be no access to the beach and bluff areas.
So what does that mean for fans? Essentially you have two options. You can stay in the comfort of your own home, still watch the 49ers game on television, and watch the live webcast of the surfing contest at www.MavericksInvitational.com.
Or if you’re all about heading out of town, the Mavericks Invitational Festival will be held outdoors at the Oceano Hotel & Spa at Princeton Harbor. Doors open at 7:45 am, the festival kicks off at 8 am (the same time the first heat of the contest is set to kickoff), and runs all day. Organizers seem to have covered all the bases. There’ll be a Jumbotron to watch the action, live commentary and all sorts of activities including music, and a skate park. Food trucks are coming in along with a Sierra Nevada Beer Garden. When the contest ends, everything moves to the festival, including the surfers, for the awards ceremony. The action is expected to be over at sunset.
General admission tickets are $10 if purchased online. You can also splurge on numerous VIP tickets packages that include all sorts of goodies like t-shirts, specials seats and parking. Tickets will be available at the door until they sell out. This is a family-friendly event. Kids under the age of 5 get in for free. No pets are allowed into the festival.
Plan on parking at the Half Moon Bay Airport. The $15 fee is going to the Boys & Girls Club of the Coastside. Airport parking is walking distance to the festival. No parking along Highway 1; it’s earmarked for locals and hotel guests.
If you’re pondering staying the night, don’t think about it for long. Make your reservations right away or you may find pickings are slim. Half Moon Bay is an easy drive, and some folks are lucky enough to have Monday off for Martin Luther King’s Day.
Dana can be found on Twitter @drebmann