Mavericks International 2013 Opening Ceremony by Peter Adams.

It’s easy to lose track of time in Startup Land due to the fact that we only have two seasons: “warm” and “less warm”. However, we do have some obvious visual clues (leaves falling, colored lights, fleece, etc.) as well as a few seasonal markers.

My new favorite is the opening ceremony for the Mavericks Invitational surf competition. Every Fall 24 big wave surfers are invited to the legendary break near Half Moon Bay. The opening ceremony, which took place this past Friday, marks the beginning of the Mavericks season (November to January). Why is there a “season” for Mavericks you ask? The conditions have to be just right for the big waves to materialize, otherwise there is no contest. Since Mother Nature is hard to predict, the call only goes out to the invited surfers with just a few days notice.

Jeff Clark, contest director and Mavericks pioneer, refers to opening ceremony as a “gathering of the tribe” – a time for family, friends, kids and the local community to come out to the beach and meet surfers (something you can no longer do during the actual contest).

After mingling with the crowd, the competitors all line up for photos and are handed Hawaiian ti leaves. Speeches are given. Then the ceremony concludes with the surfers paddling out into the ocean where they form a floating prayer circle to commemorate the event, show respect to fellow surfers and their safety, and pay tribute to those who have died.