Mavericks Invitational Kicks-Off

© 2017 - Brian Overfelt

Mavericks Invitational presented by GoPro Kicks off winter season waiting period with an inspirational Opening Ceremony and paddle out from the beach at Mavericks.

"The opening ceremony and paddle out is more special than any big day of surfing," said Danilo Couto, Brazilian big wave surfer on the list of alternates for this year's competition. "It just reminds us how lucky we are to be here year after and year. Mavericks is the most intense big wave around. It keeps me on my toes every day of my life, knowing I have to be ready. It keeps me healthy, keeps me young, and keeps me doing the right thing."

Nearly all of the 24 invited competitors and 17 alternates attended the ceremony, along with the local high school and junior high school surf teams, fans and the local surf community.

"The surfers look forward to the ceremony to reconnect with each other and with Mavericks," said contest director Jeff Clark, who introduced the surfers and led the group in a prayer. "It's the coming together of the family and the brotherhood that goes way deeper than surfing. It helps us remember that it is a power much greater than us that allows us to challenge one of the greatest forces of nature."

© 2017 - Brian Overfelt

The heat draw is where competitors pull out a numbered ping pong ball which places them in their respective heat was as follows:

Heat #1
Peter Mel
Dave Wassel
Mark Healey
Kelly Slater
Ken Collins
Rusty Long

Heat #2
Chris Bertish
Jamie Sterling
Grant Washburn
Shawn Dollar
Nathan Fletcher
Matt Ambrose

Heat #3
Tyler Smith
Ryan Augenstein
Zach Wormhoudt
Shane Dorian
Greg Long
Ryan Seelbach

Heat #4
Alex Martins
Anthony Tashnick
Grant Baker
Ben Wilkinson
Carlos Burle
Shane Desmond

The ceremony also marks the opening of the Mavericks Invitational contest window, which starts on November 9, 2012, and runs though March 31, 2013. When wave height and weather conditions are perfect, organizers make "the call" to hold the contest with 24-hour notice.

This year's event is presented by GoPro, with supporting sponsors Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and 1st to Know. To receive up to date news and alerts about the contest, fans can sign up for free text alerts at

About Mavericks Invitational

Mavericks Invitational is the world's premier, high adrenaline, big wave surfing event, and is now part of the Big Wave World Tour. The association with BWWT allows those surfers who are part of the tour to use their performance at Mavericks as part of their overall scoring for the season.

The contest is a one-day, invitation-only surfing competition is held at the legendary Mavericks surf break located ½ mile offshore at Pillar Point Harbor, just 20 minutes south of San Francisco. The 24 most daring big-wave surfers in the world attempt to tame the massive swells on the biggest and best day of the 2012 winter season. For additional details, tickets or sign up to be a volunteer, visit

Ed Temperley

MSW editor. Instagram @edtemperley