Mavericks waves injure spectators

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Sat, February 13, 2010


Several spectators were injured at the Mavericks big wave surf contest just after 9am when a series of waves crashed into spectators, reports the Chronicle.

Some of the waves at Mavericks, off Pillar Point north of Half Moon Bay, appeared to be up to 40 feet high. They were clean and smooth, thanks to low wind in the area. Surfers said they were among the biggest waves in the history of the contest.

But the conditions were perilous on a beach where spectators gathered despite being warned by organizers that the view was difficult. [...]

A series of waves, though, knocked down scaffolding set up to hold the contest’s award ceremony. County sheriff’s deputies hustled people off the beach and set up barricades in some spots.

One wave knocked down Betsy Foreman, 48, of Ukiah, and broke her ankle. She had been part of the way up a hillside, but had come down and was walking away from the water at the urging of deputies. [...]

Mary Gram, 51, of San Rafael, appeared to have a broken or dislocated middle finger on her right hand. As she waited for medical attention, she said, "I guess I’m lucky. But I lost my iPhone."

The contest started at 8 a.m. The winner of $50,000 out of a $150,000 prize purse was expected to be crowned by 3 p.m.

From the County Times:

Paramedics took a man in his 60s away with an ankle injury. He was bloodied, having been trampled by the crowd after he was knocked over by a surge of water.

The waves also knocked over Mavericks volunteer Renee Sorenson, of Redwood City.

"I got knocked over by one of those dumb waves," she said. "It also took my camera away. I tried to brace myself but it tripped me and another wave washed over me."

Sorenson’s daughter, Amanda, said the sight of the wave surging up the beach was "the scariest thing I’ve ever seen."

"We’re here ever year and we get rogue waves but nothing like this," said Renee Sorenson. She was treated by paramedics and sent to a hospital with a likely broken wrist.

Cal Fire reports thirteen spectators were injured, according to the Review


Comment 1
Sun, February 21, 2010 6:45am
Frank Long
All my comments

I noticed from the helicopter feeds that the previous tide seemed to have left an obvious splash line about six feet or so at the base of the cliff face. Wouldn’t that lead someone to suspect that it might happen again on the next high tide?