Carlos Burle takes a header  during an early heat in today's Mavericks Invitational in Half Moon Bay. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Carlos Burle takes a header during an early heat in today’s Mavericks Invitational near Half Moon Bay. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

3 p.m. Update: The 2014 Mavericks Invitational big-wave surfing competition is history. After a day featuring some brutal early-morning wipeouts and lots and lots of seemingly death-defying drops down the faces of the monster waves off Pillar Point, Grant “Twiggy” Baker, a 40-year-old from Durban, South Africa, (and part-time resident of San Francisco), took the $50,000 first prize. He won the contest with two rides early in the six-man final heat that judges rated nearly perfect. None of the other five surfers really came close to overcoming that early lead.

Twenty-four competitors started the competition, with the first heat beginning at 8 a.m. The field was winnowed down to the six finalists. Their order of finish:

1. Grant Baker, South Africa
2. Shane Dorian, Hawaii
3. Ryan Augenstein, Santa Cruz
4. Tyler Fox, Santa Cruz
5. Greg Long, San Clemente
6. Anthony Tashnick, Santa Cruz

Last year’s winner, Peter Mel of Santa Cruz, did not make the final.

Original post: If you care about big waves, you know that the Mavericks Invitational is on. Heats started at 8 a.m. — I don’t know anything about surfing except that it looks amazing — and the finals (to be televised live on NBC’s Universal Sports channel) start at 1:30 p.m.

Your best remote spectator option if you can’t make it to the big-screen “viewing festival” at the Oceano Hotel in Half Moon Bay: Watch the narrated live video stream on the Mavericks site (below).

Mavericks InvitationalThe Mavericks Invitational, your official invite to the greatest surf contest on the planet.

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Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke is a blogger, reporter and editor for KQED News, responsible for online breaking news coverage of topics ranging from California water issues to the Bay Area's transportation challenges. In a newsroom career that began in Chicago in 1972, Dan has worked as a city and foreign/national editor for The San Francisco Examiner, editor at Wired News, deputy editor at Wired magazine, managing editor at TechTV as well as for several Web startups.

Since joining KQED in 2007, Dan has reported, edited and produced both radio and online features and breaking news pieces. He has shared in two Society of Professional Journalists Norcal Excellence in Journalism awards — for his 2012 reporting on a KQED Science series on water and power in California, and in 2014, for KQED's comprehensive reporting on the south Napa earthquake.

In addition to his 44 years of on-the-job education, Dan is a lifelong student of history and is still pursuing an undergraduate degree.

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