California Big Wave Competition on for Friday

Mavericks draws world class surfers

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. - Mavericks' surf competition is just too humongous to pass up, so the world's most famous big wave surf contest is back on for Friday. After initially deciding to wait because of safety concerns, officials of the Body Glove Mavericks Invitational decided Wednesday afternoon to "green light" the event for Friday. Wave faces are expected to be a towering 35 to 40 feet and south winds have subsided, reducing the potential danger.

"This is going to be a powerful and memorable swell, and we are looking at waves upwards of 40 feet," contest director Jeff Clark said.

Competitors have until 8 a.m. Friday morning to hit the beach at Pillar Point on the northern edge of Half Moon Bay. Most of the invitees are already there, and they practiced on 20-foot waves Tuesday and Wednesday.

For the second year, fans will be kept off the beach. Instead, there will be a festival at nearby Oceano Hotel and Spa in Princeton Harbor, where fans can watch the contest on big screens and celebrate surf culture. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 on contest day; go to mavericksinvitational.com for details.

For the first time, Mavericks also will be shown live on television by the Universal Sports Network with broadcast of the final rounds at 1:30 p.m. In the Sacramento area, Universal Sports Network is carried only by DirecTV and Dish Network.

More than 1 million viewers watched a live webcast of last year's event, won by Santa Cruz's Peter Mel.

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