published Friday, January 24th, 2014

Videos: Mavericks surf competition under way off Northern California coast

  • photo
    Nic Lamb rides a wave during the third heat of the first round of the Mavericks Invitational big wave surf contest on Friday, Jan. 24, 2014, in Half Moon Bay, Calif.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. — The Mavericks surf competition off the Northern California coast is underway, and the waves have not disappointed so far.

Forecasters had predicted that the mix of swell size and weather would make for faces exceeding 40 feet, and their predictions appeared to be coming true on Friday.

The contest is held at one of the world's most perilous surfing spots, which is near the San Francisco Bay Area city of Half Moon Bay. Two seasoned watermen have died there, including legendary big-wave rider Mark Foo from Hawaii in 1994.

Only surfers invited to the event can participate, and the event is only held when conditions are prime. This year, invitations went out to 24 of the world's best big wave surfers.

The participants compete in groups throughout the day, with judging based on the quality of the wave, difficulty of the drop and the surfer's performance.

A winner is crowned at the end of the day.

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