Locals thrive in Mavericks surf competition

A San Francisco Fire Department medic finished third and a Santa Cruz man took first place in the Titans of Mavericks surf competition in Half Moon Bay Friday, according to the official results posted online.

Nic Lamb took home the top prize in the contest that had a total purse of $120,000.

Thirty-one year old Pacifica resident and San Francisco Fire Department medic Travis Payne was leading at about 1:30 p.m. with a score of 24.36 and finished third.

The Titans of Mavericks competition started at 8 a.m. about a half-mile off Pillar Point Harbor.

About 100 people had gathered at 2 p.m. at Pleasure Pizza’s East Side Eatery at 800 41st Ave. in Santa Cruz to watch the competition, Owner Derek Rupp said. As a surfer himself he said, “It’s really fun” to watch the competition with likeminded people.

He described the competition as something that is on a whole other level than what he is used to surfing because of the size of the waves.

He said he’s surfed 12 to 14 foot waves, while the waves today were as high was 40 feet, according to staff at Maverick’s Surf Company in Half Moon Bay.

Many people at the pizzeria were rooting for Tyler Fox because he lives on the east side of Santa Cruz where the restaurant is located, Rupp said. Fox started the semi-finals this afternoon with a score of 18.81 and finished fifth.

Thirteen establishments from Santa Cruz to San Francisco were planning to show the competition on television because law enforcement did not permit people to watch the event in person for safety reasons.

The bluffs at Pillar Point were unstable and high tide came in at about 1:30 p.m. so there was no beach to watch from, San Mateo County sheriff’s spokesman Detective Salvador Zuno said.

People could watch from a boat.

As of 1:30 p.m. there had not been any major security or medical incidents, Zuno said.

Maverick’s Surf Company salesperson Thwen Chaloemtiarana said it was pretty non-stop at the shop today. All the competition-related gear was sold out before 10 a.m., he said.

Chaloemtiarana said people were “stoked on Travis” since he is from Pacifica and a San Francisco Fire Department medic.