It's that time of the year again when the world's elite group of big-wave surfers including names like Greg Long, Shane Dorian and Kelly Slater all check their inboxes for that prestigious invite to one of this winter's multitude of big-wave contests. This year, top big wave venues such as Waimea Bay on the North Shore of Oahu, Jaws on the island of Maui, Nelscott Reef in Oregon, and Maverick's near Half Moon Bay, Calif., will all play host to heavy-water events.
And although there were plenty of waves last year to hold an event at Maverick's, growing pains, a lack of sponsorship and the distraction of filming "Chasing Mavericks" forced organizers not to make the call. This year, with a moderate El Niño weather pattern on tap, contest Director Jeff Clark and a host of local business owners, surfers and forecasters are confident that the waves will return. And to that end, the organizers have announced GoPro, the San Mateo based action sports camera giant, as their title sponsor.
"We are stoked to be part of Mavericks Invitational as it recognizes the world's top big-wave surfers charging one of the most famous big waves on the planet," said Paul Crandell, Vice President of Marketing for GoPro. "GoPro was created close to Maverick's. In fact, the harbor near Maverick's is where our founder Nick Woodman would do camera and water housing tests. So, the event also means a lot to us because these are our friends and neighbors who are behind this event. And with the GoPro camera onboard, we're looking forward to providing people around the world with a unique perspective and idea of what it is like to drop in and ride at Maverick's."
The press release comes on the heels of GoPro announcing their latest product, The HD Hero 3.
To celebrate the opening of the new season and the return of the event, the traditional opening ceremony and paddle out is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 9. The opening ceremony is a ritual unlike any other, bringing the athletes, surfers and fans to the beach to commemorate the opening of the big-wave season. In the long-honored Hawaiian tradition, surfers then paddle out to the water and form a prayer circle to commemorate the event, show respect to fellow surfers and their safety, and pay tribute to those who have lost their lives.
"Maverick's is unquestionably one of, if not the best, big-wave paddle waves in the world. It deserves to have a competition and I'm glad it's back on track," said Greg Long, a former Maverick's contest champion and the most decorated big-wave surfer of our time. "These events are a celebration of our sport and being together with everybody on those days surfing big waves and pushing the limits is nothing short of incredible."
The event waiting period runs from November 9 to March 31, 2013. The world's best big wave surfers will be standing by for the 24-hour call by event organizers. Visit the Official website at www.mavericksinvitational.com for contest alerts.
2012/13 Maverick's contest invitees:
Matt Ambrose (Pacifica, CA)
Ryan Augenstein (Santa Cruz, CA)
Grant "Twiggy" Baker (South Africa)
Chris Bertish (South Africa)
Carlos Burle (Brazil)
Ken "Skindog" Collins (Santa Cruz, CA)
Shane Desmond (Santa Cruz, CA)
Shawn Dollar (Santa Cruz, CA)
Shane Dorian (Hawaii)
Nathan Fletcher (San Clemente, CA)
Mark Healey (Hawaii)
Rusty Long (San Clemente, CA)
Alex Martins (Brazil)
Peter Mel (Santa Cruz, CA)
Ryan Seelbach (San Francisco, CA)
Kelly Slater (Florida)
Tyler Smith (Santa Cruz, CA)
Jamie Sterling (Hawaii)
Anthony Tashnick (Santa Cruz, CA)
Grant Washburn (San Francisco, CA)
Dave Wassel (Hawaii)
Ben Wilkinson (Australia)