Mavericks Surf Awards Announces New Contest

Mavericks Surf Awards Announces Video Performance Contest to Honor Mavericks and the Surfers Who Brave the Legendary Wave

With the first storms of the winter building energy and getting ready to unleash its fury on Mavericks, local residents have gathered financial and community support for a “virtual” contest that recognizes exceptional performance throughout the entire big wave season.

Mavericks pioneer Jeff Clark and entrepreneur Chris Cuvelier are thrilled to announce the first annual Mavericks Surf Awards. Jeff Clark, who first surfed Mavericks in 1975 at 17 years old and founded the original Mavericks surf contest, has partnered with Half Moon Bay resident and founder of Zola, Chris Cuvelier, to form a video performance contest to honor Mavericks and the athletes that surf it.

“Our mission is to celebrate Mavericks and support the men and women who have dedicated their lives to surfing this amazing spot,” said Jeff Clark. “When the WSL decided to cancel the contest at Mavericks, it was yet another sign that the times have changed, and we need to change, too. The logistics and politics of running a one-day surf event make it incredibly difficult. This is an opportunity to rewrite the script, keep the surfing pure, and stay out of the way of the athletes who want to go out there and free surf for the pure joy of it. Every swell, there are photographers out there documenting amazing moments that no one even sees. Now we have a way to capture those moments and recognize the best of the best every season.”

Mavericks Surf Awards

Big Wave Surfer, Luca Padua surfing Mavericks in 2018. Photo: Fred Pompermayer

The Mavericks Surf Awards is a video performance contest where athletes and videographers submit their best surf videos of Mavericks throughout the season, and winners are selected for various categories. All surfers – men and women, seasoned professionals and up-and-comers – are eligible to enter.

A significant cash prize purse will be be divided across five categories: Male Performer of the Year; Female Performer of the Year; Biggest Wave; Best Wave; and Best Barrel. 90% of the prize money for each category will be awarded to the athlete and 10% to the videographer. The window to submit videos is November 1, 2019, through April 15, 2020, and will culminate in an Awards Ceremony in Half Moon Bay in May.

“Jeff and I wanted to ensure we would properly honor the wave and the athletes,” said Cuvelier. “What we came up with are five key objectives that will guide our decisions: celebrating the wave; providing financial support to the athletes; promoting unity, inclusion, equality and environmental stewardship; providing value back to sponsors; and promoting water safety.”

The event website will launch in November and will feature stunning photos and videos, profile the surfers and document life in and around Mavericks and the big wave community.

Big wave surfer, Maya Gabeira from Brazil is looking forward to the new format. “I am so excited to see what happens this season at Mavericks. After 4 years without an event, it’s about time the place gets attention and support through a new format. The Mavericks Surf Awards will be a way to continue to see the performance rise and get the athletes more support and deserving recognition. I hold Mavericks in a very special place in my memories.”

Mavericks has been known to create 50-60 foot faces and is known to be one of the most dangerous waves in the world. Safety is, as always, paramount to the surfers. Clark was adamant that, in order to qualify for entry, the surfer must complete the wave.

Big wave surfer Luca Padua, a Half Moon Bay resident and the youngest person to surf Mavericks, is an official adviser to the contest. “Mavericks is one of the biggest and most dangerous waves on the planet,” said Luca. “I’m stoked that Jeff and Chris are placing such an importance on water safety and implementing rules about making waves to win. We want to see progression in the sport, not people paddling themselves into unmakeable waves. The platform these guys have created is perfect and I’m beyond stoked to get this season started!”

Mavericks Surf Awards is meeting with a number of big wave surfers who have extensive experience surfing Mavericks to become official judges of the contest. A ceremonial paddle out to open the big wave season will take place on October 25, 2019 in Half Moon Bay.

For more information or to stay in touch with upcoming events and big swells at Mavericks, visit or follow us at @maverickssurfawards on Instagram.