Local surfers are eyeing forecasts this fall, usually a great time for waves and weather on the Coastside. A select few will have their eye on Mavericks, which is beginning to show signs of life. But you don’t have to be a surfer to enjoy the first-ever Mavericks Festival, which kicks off the contest window for the growing Mavericks Surf Awards.
Organizers are hosting a free event from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 1 in the parking lot next to Johnson Pier at Pillar Point Harbor. Expect a variety of local vendors, public speakers and opportunities to learn about ocean safety and meet first responders. Ten percent of the proceeds will go to Sea Hugger, the event’s environmental partner. The event is also a fundraiser to get prize money for the third annual video-based competition in which surfers submit their best rides over a five-month period at the famous break.
Coastsiders Jeff Clark and Chris Cuvelier came up with the idea for an inclusive digital competition in 2019 and are hoping to grow the prize pool and community engagement. With $5,000 in prize money per award, for three awards per gender, the contest provides an equal playing field and opportunity for men and women. The money is split 60-40 between the surfer and the videographer.
Last year, 20-year-old El Granada resident Luca Padua was named the male Performer of the Year for the 2021-22 Mavericks season. San Francisco’s Bianca Valenti swept the women’s division, which included Biggest Wave and Ride of the Year awards.
Three bands will be performing throughout the day. Coast Tribe will play from noon to 1 p.m., Royal Jelly Jive will take the stage at 2 p.m., and Santa Cruz’s The Expendables will close out the day with a 90-minute set starting at 4 p.m. A large Jumbotron screen will be playing surf videos during the event. Periodically, public speakers will get on stage to talk about surfing and environmental sustainability.
Organizers are also planning to provide booths for volunteers of the Mavericks Water Rescue team, photographers who have shot notable footage of the break, and professional surfers who frequent it.
Thirteen local food and beer vendors have already confirmed a spot there, including Half Moon Bay Brewing Co., Blue Ocean Brewery, Hop Dogma, Spangler’s Market, Sam’s Chowder House, and New Leaf Community Market. The Half Moon Bay High School volleyball team will be selling tamales. Larger regional brands like Firestone Walker and Maui Brewing Co. will also be there.
There will also be a large education zone for attendees to meet personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard, San Mateo County Sheriff's Office, Coastside Fire Protection District, Marine Mammal Center, Resource Conservation District and more. The Coast Guard will have a live rescue demonstration with a helicopter at 10 a.m. ▪
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