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Weather changes push back Mavericks surf contest

SF Gate logo SF Gate 1/14/2018 By Bruce Jenkins

GERHARDTa-C-23OCT01-MG-MK - Sarah Gernadt, the fist and only woman to surf Mavericks, surfs at Steamer Lane near her Santa Cruz home. BY MIKE KEPKA/THE CHRONICLE SARAH GERHARDT .. ALSO RAN 08/29/03 (PF Section) )

GERHARDTa-C-23OCT01-MG-MK - Sarah Gernadt, the fist and only woman to surf Mavericks, surfs at Steamer Lane near her Santa Cruz home. BY MIKE KEPKA/THE CHRONICLE SARAH GERHARDT .. ALSO RAN 08/29/03 (PF Section) )
© MIKE KEPKA, SFC

Surfing contests rely on the combination of waves and weather, and the Mavericks event is getting only partial cooperation. With contrary conditions in the forecast, the Mavericks Challenge has been called off for Tuesday, with no specific plans for the immediate future.

Throughout the past week, there was excitement over a west-northwest swell that would bring the largest Mavericks surf of the season. That is now a matter of conjecture, and the once-promising weather forecasts have changed.

“We are specifically concerned about the south-southwest winds that are projected to come in on Tuesday morning,” said World Surf League Commissioner Mike Parsons. “There is also potential for northwest winds that day (the most favorable winds for Mavericks are from the east or northeast). The models are showing a slight decrease in the swell size, as well. We still have the rest of January and all of February to get a better opportunity to run the event.”

More big surf is due along the Northern California coast over the next several days, but potentially contrary weather makes it impossible to set a target date.

Reflecting on the transfer of ownership from Cartel Management (which filed for bankruptcy) and the WSL, veteran Mavericks surfer Grant Washburn saw the upside.

“The WSL is clearly ready to pull the trigger on this contest,” Washburn said Saturday. “The very opposite of last year.”

With the contest on hold indefinitely, many of the men and women surfers on the Mavericks invitation list have flown to Hawaii, where clean and giant surf was expected.

Bruce Jenkins is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist.

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