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Mavericks big-wave contest could get a green light Saturday

January 14, 2009 |  1:50 pm

Greg Long negotiates a bottom turn on a Mavericks wave in late November.

Large and powerful waves are expected to reach California over the next few days-- especially Central and Northern California -- and chances are good that the annual Mavericks Surf Contest off Half Moon Bay will be held Saturday.

Organizers have not made a call but Greg Long, the defending champion from San Clemente, told me at 1:30 p.m.: "Everybody's looking at Saturday now. It's just a matter of how long the swell is actually going to hold in there for.

"Unfortunately it looks like it's going to peak overnight [Friday], and it's just a matter of whether there will be enough swell throughout the day Saturday to call it."

The powerful North Pacific swell is just now arriving on north- and west-facing beaches in Hawaii, a little later than expected, so it could peak along the West Coast a little later too, which would mean a full day of Mavericks bombs for the 24 contest invitees on Saturday. However, forecasters for Surfline.com are calling for wave face heights of only 15 to 20-plus feet. That's small by Mavericks' standards.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Greg Long negotiates a bottom turn on a Mavericks wave in late November. Credit: Robert Brown

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