Jay at Mavericks safety meeting postponed


Posted by on Mon, December 13, 2010

UPDATE: This meeting was postponed at about 4pm on Wednesday, December 15.

The Jay at Mavericks big wave surf contest and public officials will discuss safety plans at a public meeting

at the Oceano Hotel at 280 Capistrano Road, Princeton at 6pm Thursday, Dec 16

, according to a the county.

Members of the public and the media will be able to ask detailed questions to members of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, California Highway Patrol, San Mateo County Harbor District, and the event’s producer, the Jay at Maverick’s Big Wave Invitational. Representatives from other agencies will also be on hand to answer questions.

Public safety officials hope to spread the word that they plan to close the beach.  The Jay at Maverick’s has arranged for live video feeds to be shown at a festival location in Princeton, as well as on any PC with an internet connection.

The Jay at Maverick’s Big Wave Invitational is scheduled to be held sometime between December 1, 2010, and February 28, 2011. The contest during the winter of 2008-09 was not held due to lack of swell and the contest of 2009-10 was held on Saturday February 13th and made national headlines following a wave crashing on shore where some spectators were attempting to view the contest.

The County says that up to 40,000 people are anticipated to visit the Coastside for the event. Several spectators were injured by a wave at the event in February.

Comment 1
Wed, December 15, 2010 11:10am
Bill Kehoe
All my comments

First, let me say that the Maverick Surf Contest is a unique asset to our coastal community and I would like to see it continue. But it needs to be better organized for the safety and convenience of both the local residents and coast side visitors. Last year was a complete disaster and this meeting needs to present a plan for the anticipated crowds that show up. The following are comments I sent to Supervisor Gordon’s office after last year’s event which will highlight some of the issues.

“On the Saturday, Feb 13, I unfortunately had to go to HMB to pick up my high school daughter who was leaving work at 4:00 PM. Earlier that day, around 9:30 AM I drove from Moss Beach to El Granada to see how backed up it was before I had to drop her off at work. It was already clogged from excessive traffic so I got back home around 10:00 (normally this 4 mile round trip would take 5 minutes) and picked her up knowing she would probably be late since she was supposed to be there at 11:00 AM. We were “lucky” and it only took about 1 hour to drive the six miles to her work near the HMB Library.

But our luck didn’t hold out. When I left at 3:00 PM to pick her up at 4:00 PM, I hit grid lock just south of where Elethdore ST meets HWY 1 (at the north end of the airport). My hope was that it was just “traffic control” at the airport gate but 30 minutes later I was just inching my way up to the 3-Zero Cafe and airport buildings which were about .75 mile distance. And now HWY 1 going north was also gridlocked so there was no where to go but wait it out hoping the police were doing something.

While I sat there I noticed all sorts of violations that showed a total lack of control and in some case major safety concerns. I will list some here:

- Over flow parking along the edge (between the white line and the road edge) of HWY 1 for the length of the airport caused people on foot with children and dogs in tow to encroach into the actual traffic lanes. Luckily the traffic was almost stopped.

- The foot traffic was mixed two-way, some people walking south and others north and on both sides of HWY on. Mixed in with the foot traffic was bicycles and MOTOCYCLES going at various speeds and even pass the foot traffic on the right which could have caused serious injury if someone jumped to get out of the way! This is an accident waiting to happen and I have also witnessed this during the Dream Machine’s event over the past few years from a perch on top of the hill off of Etheldore St.

- There were also bikes and motorcycles “threading the yellow line” in the center of the road to by pass the stopped and slow traffic and as I watched the crossed back and forth over the line even where it was a solid double yellow.

- As I sat there for almost an hour there was no police presence to be seen along this stretch of road until 4:00 PM when I saw 3 Black and White Police Cars (with little cardboard signs in the driver’s rear side window with “volunteers” written on it) driving in the north bound lane. My guess is that they were ‘hired’ by the event but only paid to 4 so we were just left to fend for ourselves!

- I read in the SJ Mercury News that because of the big wave accident “Organizers decided to close the Half Moon Bay Airport parking lot to new arrivals at about 10 a.m.” which probably just added to the roadside and neighborhood parking woes that day. This was not a deterrent to the people who had already driven here for the event and showed just how little planning goes into this event and the lack of contingency plans to deal with exceptional events.

Crowd Control

- According to the SJ Mercury News the crowd was estimated at 20,000 people, almost doubling the 2000 Census population of 24,000 for HMB, and the unincorporated areas to the north of HMB. There was little or no crowd control along the HWY were I was stuck. As a consequence of this lack of control I saw:

- At least 6 different people go behind bushes to go to the bathroom along the airport fence and on the opposite side of the street north of the farm fields. One was a mother and her young son, about 2 or 3 because he was still in a car seat, who had to pull over from the traffic and let her little boy pee off the side of the road because he could not wait any longer. The others were all adults who either drank too much or underestimated how long it would take them to walk back to their cars parked along the HWY 1 or both. But this is my home and my environment and I don’t like it.

- I saw 3 or 4 people walking through the plowed fields just south of the north end of Capistrano Rd. which is private property and I also saw cars parked on the edge of those field and some vegetable pulled up and discarded on the dirt. This is some families livelihood that a bunch of punks just decide to transgress because no one was there to supervise them!

- I saw numerous shouting matches between drivers who were frustrated by the gridlock when cars tried to merge into the traffic lanes. Some of these boarding on “road rage” and made me hope that they didn’t explode into some physical violence.

- Litter! Yes all along the road side but we see that a lot out here. I always remember seeing lots of new beer bottles and junk food wrappers on my Monday morning commute along the beach at El Granada and HWY 92 so why should the Maverick be any different. Who is protecting our community?”

My letter went on to ask for specific changes and areas to be investigated before any new permits were issued. But, as usual, I never got so much as a note back saying they would look into it. So, I for one plan to be there to see if there is any ‘real’ plan to protect us and re-ask my questions of those “officials” who are present. I hope other residents of the unincorporated midcoast show up and ask questions too.

bill kehoe

I attended The Mavericks Surf Contest meeting at the Coastside Fire Protection District on Friday December 17th at 10am. All agency(s) personnel were present to discuss each agency’s jurisdiction, mission during the Maverick’s Contest, special enforcement/response issues if applicable and commitment of personnel and equipment.  Law enforcement and emergency services discussed traffic, security, and staging areas.  Discussion of layout and vehicle placement at the Command Post and perimeter of the main/adjacent spectator viewing venues were also discussed.  Finally, response scenerios were addressed.

Ginny McShane
CFPD Director

Comment 3
Mon, December 20, 2010 7:02pm
Bill Kehoe
All my comments

Director McShane, I wish I had heard before hand that CFPD was going to discuss safety plans for the Maverick last Friday. Was it opened to the public? Is there a published plan that one could review? Is it on the web (I hope)? I, for one, was disappointed that the Thursday meeting was cancelled and it has been almost a year without the publics questions being addressed in an open forum.