Surfers Dare Mavericks' Waves

Dangerous contest is a crowd-pleaser
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Jan 13, 2008 1:03 PM CST
Evan Slater drops in on a giant wave as Grant Baker, top, rides over it during the final heat of the Mavericks surf contest Saturday, Jan. 12, 2008, in Half Moon Bay, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – 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.)

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