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Mavericks Fan Misses Big Wave Competition But Gets Something Better

HALF MOON BAY (KPIX) -- The Mavericks big wave surfing contest is on hold but one fan didn't learn that until he drove nine hours to see the competition. He's not disappointed, though.

"I heard Mavericks, the big surf competition, was going to happen on Monday, so I jumped in my car and drove straight up here," says John Jones.

Jones lives in San Diego, but made the trip to Half Moon Bay because he's never seen anyone surf a 40-foot wave, the type of surfing the competition is known for.

Organizers cited concerns over the winds, and models that showed a smaller swell size.

"Mavericks is a one of a kind event," says Kian Kemp, a surfer in Half Moon Bay. "That's why there's so much hype around it, because it's a one of a kind wave."

A lot goes into creating those unique waves.

Jeff Clark owns Maverick Surf Shop in Half Moon Bay. He's the one who put the big wave surf spot on the map back in the 90s.

The documentary "Riding Giants" featured Clark's story, which is why Jones made the surf shop his first stop when he got to town.

"It was something my dad and I bonded over, and I never got to come up here with him to go see it," said Jones. "He passed away last year."

""Hopefully I'll get to see you surfing on Monday or something."

But Jones got something even better.

Clark's wife, Cassandra, heard about Jones's dad, and she called her husband so the two could talk.

"We're going to meet on Monday! It was cool hearing his voice just like in the movies and then finally just talking to him on the phone," said Jones.

He's not disappointed anymore that he's not seeing the competition.

"Yea, definitely, definitely," he said. "It was worth the drive from San Diego."

The window for the much-anticipated competition is open until February 28. This will be the first year women will compete.

Some 30 men and women will compete for part of a $130,000 purse.

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