30 December 2010

Don't Miss the Boat for Mavericks

Riding the beast at the last contest
Control of the Mavericks big wave surf contest has changed hands, and the new organizers of the re-christened Jay at Mavericks are taking greater care to ensure that the spectator injuries of prior contests are a thing of the past. Unfortunately, the consequence of Mavericks Surf Ventures' previous poor planning is that now everyone, except press, is barred from access to the beach and bluffs, leaving only the water for live viewing. Sure, you could watch the contest on a big screen someplace, beer in hand, but where's the magic in that? It's happening right here, in our own backyard, not hundreds or thousands of miles away. I want to see it directly, with my own eyes.

Although I was granted media credentials for the February '10 contest and have applied again, I'm fairly sure the 38 spots on the Huli Cat press boat will go to main stream media over a lowly local blogger like me. A press pass will get me to the media area on the bluff, but I'd still like to be up close to the action (especially since Santa brought me a Nikon D3100 D-SLR camera). Here are the options I've found for watching the contest from a boat. All depart from Pillar Point Harbor.
  • Huck Fin Center coordinates up to 7 boats for contest viewing. There is no official contest boat this year, but the Jay organizers are sending inquirers to HFC. Contact Peggy to be added to their email list. This is not a solid reservation because boat availability varies with the uncertain date, but you'll be notified when the contest is called and have the opportunity at that time to make a nonrefundable reservation with a credit card. Most of the boats will be $200 per section (am/pm) or $375 for the whole day; others will be $250 per section. 
  • Queen of Hearts is a 50-foot boat, capacity 43 people, that is taking confirmed reservations. Cost is $195 for the first or second trip (am/pm), or $350 for the whole day. The advance payment is nonrefundable unless the 2010/2011 contest doesn't happen, in which case they keep $10.
  • Tigerfish, another 50-footer, takes 40 spectators at a cost of $200 with $100 charged for "re-ride." They "reserve the right to overbook all trips by 5 persons" so some folks might get left at the dock.
Boats generally operate a morning slot and another in the afternoon, so if you're keen to see the Finals, book the latter. I've got feelers out to some other local operators, so if I find more on-the-water viewing options, I'll post them here.

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