A big swell is expected to hit Northern California early next week, prompting the World Surf League to put some of the world’s top surfers on notice. Mavericks Challenge, the legendary big wave surf contest, could be held as early as Tuesday.
A field of 24 men and six women will compete for their piece of a $130,000 purse, taking on waves that can range from 30 to 60 feet high.
This is the first year the contest could feature a one-hour women’s heat. There were plans for one in 2017, but no contest was ever held because the previous ownership group, Cartel Management, ran into financial problems.
“It’s been a long road to get into the event, and it’s really exciting because now we’re in,” San Francisco pro Bianca Valenti told NPR’s Here & Now. “And so I feel like the past is the past, and it’s time to move forward and just be excited to see women finally have the opportunity to compete here.”
There was a chance the Mavericks Challenge would be held Monday, but league officials tweeted Friday morning that they are monitoring the weather and waiting for the best conditions.
The next update on whether the contest will be held is expected Saturday morning.
Watch Bianca Valenti’s interview with Thuy Vu on KQED Newsroom from last year.