The Super Bowl of Surfing lived up to its legend Saturday, and then some. The waves at Mavericks were so massive – the biggest in the history of surf contests, some said – that they caused collateral damage on the sidelines.
Long before South African Chris Bertish tamed a pair of monster swells to win the $50,000 first prize at the seventh Mavericks Surf Contest north of Half Moon Bay, a series of waves crashed into some of the thousands of fans who had flocked to the beach to try to see the action.
Just after 9 a.m. near Pillar Point, 13 people were injured and at least 40 people were knocked off their feet, officials said. Many of them had been standing on a short concrete wall and were thrown into rocks or mud by a surge of water.
A stage set up for an award ceremony toppled, while sound equipment meant for a beach broadcast was swamped.