Hordes of international surfers descended on the rocky shores and treacherous waves of Mavericks beach near San Francisco yesterday, the Los Angeles Times reports. The competition was called 24 hours before the air horn went off—enough time for surfers to fly from Brazil and South Africa, and for thousands of fans to watch from party boats, TV screens, or online.
Founder Jeff Clark first surfed the dense, 25-foot swells in 1975; he kept the spot secret for years, but now it's so well-known that environmental protectionists have gotten involved. Mavericks waves are infamous for taking surfer Mark Foo under for good in 1994, but this year, no one was hurt. "The camaraderie was beyond anything I had experienced," said winner Greg Long, who shared his prize money with the top 6. (Read more surfing stories.)