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Peter Mel catches a wave as Colin Dwyer, left, watches during the second heat of the first round of the Mavericks Invitational surf contest in Half Moon Bay, Calif. Mel is the defending champion of the event.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Eric Risberg / Associated Press

Nic Lamb begins to fall off his board during the third heat of the first round of the Mavericks Invitational surf contest in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Eric Risberg / Associated Press

Peter Mel rides a wave during the first round of the Mavericks Invitational surf contest held at Princeton Harbor in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: MONICA M. DAVEY / EPA

From left, Megan Richcreek, Fareed Fityan and Shezada Qasim, join hundreds of spectators to watch the first round of the Mavericks Big Wave Invitational surf contest on big screens at the Mavericks Viewing Festival area at Half Moon Bay, Calif.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gary Reyes / San Jose Mercury News

People on boats watch the third heat of the first round of the Mavericks Invitational surf contest. The Pillar Point Air Force Station is in the background.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Eric Risberg / Associated Press

Ben Wilkinson goes tumbling into a wave during the third heat of the first round of the Mavericks Invitational surf contest in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Eric Risberg / Associated Press

A man paddleboards past a group of surfers waiting to catch a wave in the first heat of the first round of the Mavericks Invitational surf contest in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Eric Risberg / Associated Press

Shane Dorian, left, and Ben Wilkinson, right, catch a wave during the third heat of the first round of the Mavericks Invitational surf contest in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Eric Risberg / Associated Press

Grant Baker hoists the trophy after winning in the Mavericks Big Wave Invitational at Half Moon Bay, Calif.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gary Reyes / San Jose Mercury News

Tyler Fox flies out of a wave during the second heat of the first round of the Mavericks Invitational surf contest in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Eric Risberg / Associated Press

People paddle out to watch the third heat of the first round of the Mavericks Invitational surf contest Friday in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Eric Risberg / Associated Press

Tyler Fox rides a wave during the second heat of the first round of the Mavericks Invitational surf contest in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images

Danilo Couto, left, and Peter Mel share a wave during the second heat of the first round of the Mavericks Invitational surf contest in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images

Colin Dwyer rides a wave during the second heat of the first round of the Mavericks Invitational surf contest in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images

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From the Associated Press

The Mavericks Invitational 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, 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.

3 Comments

  1. January 24, 2014, 6:12 pm

    Did anyone bother to test the radiation levels in the air and water??? Recently this area had the HIGHEST radiation levels on the West Coast, drifting in from the Fukishima nuclear power plant disaster.

    By: Jim Sellers
  2. January 25, 2014, 5:14 am

    Any viewing times for the east coast? Thank you

    By: julia
  3. April 30, 2014, 5:38 pm

    Are there medics for the said event?

    By: Paula

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