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WSL BWT Mavericks Challenge Competition Window to Open on January 3, 2018
Approval from California Coastal Commission Sees World's Best Prepare for Inaugural WSL Event at Renowned California Big Wave Break
WSL

Thursday, December 14, 2017
HALF MOON BAY, California/USA (Thursday, December 14, 2017) - The World Surf League (WSL) is pleased to announce the official competition window of the Mavericks Challenge will run from January 3, 2018 through February 28, 2018. Following coordination with the governmental agencies involved with the production of the event and having now received approval of the Mavericks Challenge event plan by the California Coastal Commission, the WSL is excited to be able to open the window for the event immediately following the holiday blackout dates.

"We are thrilled to open the competition window for the Mavericks Challenge," said Sophie Goldschmidt, WSL CEO. "Mavericks is a special location that adds a new level to the Big Wave Tour schedule. Hosting the women's event at Mavericks was always a priority for us when we acquired the event. We are excited and ready to bring the Mavericks Challenge to the international stage for our fans to enjoy."

The WSL's acquisition of the permit for the contest was finalized in October following an agreement with Titans of Mavericks and Cartel Management, in which the world-famous Mavericks in Northern California will join WSL Big Wave Tour through 2021. Surfing competitions have run under various structures at Mavericks since 1999 and the event last ran in 2016, won by Nic Lamb (USA).

"Mavericks is the crown jewel of Big Wave surfing and the tour," said Lamb. "It's the only California big wave venue on the tour and perhaps the most feared. I'm excited at the direction we're headed. It was only a matter of time for the women. I couldn't be more excited to watch those heats and I'll definitely be front row glued to the action."

The Mavericks Challenge will form part of the 2017/18 BWT Northern Hemisphere Season. The men's division will consist of a 24-man field, comprised of the Top 10 finishers of the 2016/2017 BWT season, 6 event wildcards, 3 BWT wildcards, 1 injury wildcard, and the Top 4 Surfline Overall Performance of the Year Award recipients. The 6 event wildcards for the Mavericks Challenge will be selected by a committee made up of Mavericks legends and experts.

"Having the addition of the Mavericks event on the Big Wave Tour is a huge thing for the men and women," said Paige Alms (HAW), 2017 Pe'ahi Challenge winner and 2016 Women's Big Wave Champion. "It's going to be an amazing opportunity to see another big wave spot, one of the best in the world, and have an empty lineup with the best surfers, best conditions and the best waves. Mavericks is a really perfect wave and one of the most powerful big waves in the world. With the inclusion of Mavericks as a part of the tour, I think fans will be seeing some of the best big waves ridden, hopefully the conditions are just all-time. We will see some of the best waves ridden there and also some of the most heavy wipeouts, people really like to push themselves over the ledge there."

The world's best female big wave surfers will also have the opportunity to compete at Mavericks this upcoming season for the first time ever. The WSL Commissioner's Office has worked with a local committee made up of Mavericks surfing icons to select six of the best female big wave surfers. The committee considered performance results from the 2016 WSL Big Wave Awards, experience surfing at Mavericks, and overall big wave experience at all big wave locations around the world.

"The addition of Mavericks on this year's Big Wave Tour will ensure that the tour has the three most challenging big waves on the planet with Peahi, Nazaré and now Mavericks," said Mike Parsons, WSL BWT Commissioner. "Mavericks is the most challenging big wave on the west coast and is unique in how intense and steep the takeoff is. The event will undoubtedly challenge the world's best men and female surfers like no other wave. This will be a fantastic moment for women's big wave surfing. The best female big wave surfers will get to showcase their skills on the heaviest wave on the west coast."

The 2017/2018 WSL Big Wave Tour has completed its first two events of the season with Kai Lenny (HAW) winning the Puerto Escondido Challenge in Mexico and Ian Walsh (HAW) and Paige Alms (HAW) taking out the Pe'ahi Challenge.

Formed in 2009, the Big Wave Tour joined the WSL in 2014, producing historic performances at never-before-contested venues such as Nazaré in Portugal and Pe'ahi on Maui's North Shore. Monitoring swell systems and weather patterns throughout the season, the Big Wave Tour only runs events when surf reaches the 30-foot-plus mark, mobilizing on 72 hours' notice with an international field of Big Wave men's and women's athletes.

For more information, check out WorldSurfLeague.com.



The men's and women's rosters for the 2018 Mavericks Challenge were finalized on Wednesday, the same day the World Surf League got final approval from the Coastal Commission to open the event window on January 3, 2018. The newest addition to the Big Wave Tour will feature 30 of the best and bravest surfers in the world.

The field of 24 men and 6 women will take on California's premier big-wave venue for their piece of the $130,000 purse.



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"The addition of Mavericks on this year's Big Wave Tour will ensure that the tour has the three most challenging big waves on the planet with Pe'ahi, Nazaré and now Mavericks," said Mike Parsons, WSL BWT Commissioner. "Mavericks is the most challenging big wave on the west coast and is unique in how intense and steep the takeoff is."

As with all Big Wave Tour events, the 24-man field for the men is comprised of the Top 10 finishers of the 2016/2017 BWT season, 6 local event wildcards, 3 Big Wave Tour wildcards, 1 injury wildcard, and the Top 4 Surfline Overall Performance of the Year Award recipients. Here's how that list breaks down.


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WSL Big Wave Tour Top 10:
Grant Baker, Pedro Calado, Greg Long, Jamie Mitchell, Billy Kemper, Nic Lamb, Will Skudin, João De Macedo, Cristian Merello, Kai Lenny

Big Wave Award Performers:
Lucas Chianca, Francisco Porcella, Tom Lowe, Peter Mel

Local Mavericks Wildcards:
Travis Payne, Tyler Fox, Anthony Tashnick, Ben Andrews, Jason Stark, Pat Shaughnessy

Injury Wildcard
Makuakai Rothman

Big Wave Tour Wildcards
Three surfers to be announced upon Green Light

Performer of the Year Alternates Nathan Florence, Alex Botelho, Jojo Roper

Local Mavericks Alternates Ben Wilkinson, Nathan Fletcher, Ryan Seelbach, Matt Becker, Colin Dwyer, Luca Padua


Like The Pe'ahi Challenge on Maui, The Mavericks Challenge will also feature a women's division. "Having the addition of the Mavericks event on the Big Wave Tour is a huge thing for the men and women," said Paige Alms, two-time winner of the Pe'ahi Challenge. "It's going to be an amazing opportunity to see another big wave spot, one of the best in the world, and have an empty lineup with the best surfers, best conditions and the best waves." Alms will face three new faces at Mavericks, with local standouts Sarah Gerhardt, Bianca Valenti and Emily Erickson all entering the fold.


"It was only a matter of time for the women," says Nic Lamb, who won the last event held at Mavericks in 2016. "I couldn't be more excited to watch. Mavericks is the crown jewel of Big Wave surfing and the tour."

Women's Mavericks Challenge Invitees
Paige Alms, Keala Kennelly, Justine Dupont, Bianca Valenti, Sarah Gerhardt, Emily Erickson

Alternates:
Jamilah Star, Andrea Moller, Wrenna Delgado



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