Where to Watch the Mavericks Surf Contest

Where to Watch Mavericks Surf Contest
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Mavericks is a legendary big wave surf break off of Half Moon Bay on the Northern California coast. Each winter when the swells are at their peak, organizers plan a surf competition officially called the Titans of Mavericks and invite 24 of the best big wave surfers from around the world.

The date of the contest changes each year based on local surf conditions. This year the contest has been called for February 12, 2016. The action starts at 7:30am Pacific Time.

Where is Mavericks?

Mavericks breaks a half mile off the coast of the Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay. You can view the waves from the bluff over Pillar Point, but visitors are advised to be cautious when watching

To see current conditions at Mavericks, view Surfline's live-cam and surf report.

Where to watch Mavericks Surf Contest:

Back in 2010, an unexpected wave injured spectators. While you can view the Mavericks waves from the bluff over Pillar Point, the area is closed off during the contest for viewer safety and to prevent erosion on the sensitive cliffs.  County park rangers patrol the area to keep viewers off the bluffs.

The only ones who can watch the Mavericks surf contest in person are private boat owners willing to brave the waves in a private boat. Some charter services will be selling tickets to go out on the water. The U.S. Coast Guard recommends researching the technical capabilities of the vessel and carrying appropriate safety equipment for the conditions.

Most years, the contest organizers plan a festival and viewing tent at a park in Half Moon Bay, but there is no celebration planned this year. Instead, local visitors wanting to share the excitement can go to one of these local bars & restaurants on the San Mateo County coast.

Half Moon Bay & Princeton-by-the-Sea:

  • Mavericks Surf Shop
  • Half Moon Bay Brewing Company
  • Flavor on the Coast
  • Old Princeton Landing
  • Public House & Grill
  • Miramar Beach Restaurant
  • Cameron's Inn, Pub & Restaurant

Santa Cruz:

  • Pleasure Pizza East Side Eatery
  • Berdel's Skate Shop
  • New Bohemia Brewing Company
  • Pono Hawaiian Grill


  • La Playa Taqueria

Tips for visiting Half Moon Bay during the Mavericks Surf Contest:

If you are planning to visit Half Moon Bay for the event, expect traffic. Event organizers say the best bet will be to park at one of the California State Parks on Highway 1 and walk or bike the coastal trail into the Pillar Point harbor where you can watch the events at one of the local businesses mentioned above.

The streets into Princeton and near the break will only be open to local residents.