Half Moon Bay Sportfishing and Tackle, located right at the docks just a few minutes boat ride south of Mavericks, offers boat tours to view the surf contest and non-contest days at Mavericks. All vessels are fully insured, licensed and Coast Guard inspected and are owned and operated by some of the most experienced captains in the Bay Area charterboat fleet. We are the only dockside shop offering trips from Pillar Point Harbor, Half Moon Bay. We have an exceptional reputation, have owned and operated our boat, the 50' Queen of Hearts out of Pillar Point for over 25 years, and are the longest running operation that has taken well over a thousand folks to view Mavericks over the past several contests. We have offered boat trips to Mavericks since the late 1990s on the Queen of Hearts and from our shop at the harbor since we purchased it in 2006.
The way the waves come through at Mavericks, experienced boats can safely position themselves just outside the areas where the surfers sit and the waves start breaking. Always staying at a safe distance, we are still able to be right next to the surfers at times. From the boats, there are times viewers will be able to look right down the tube and get some awesome views of surfers dropping in and shooting the curl. Folks onboard get to experience the roar of the ocean and at times feel the breeze hitting their face as the tube crashes, closes and spits. Just keep in mind, though, that being onboard a boat is not for everyone. Even though we are not shooting 30 foot plus waves like the surfers just yards away, we are riding the large swells that come through. Once the boat leaves the dock, it does not return until it's scheduled return time except for emergencies, and normal seasickness is not an emergency!
The trip to view the contest is not cheap. But there is absolutely no better way to check out the action short of being in the water. Those that say otherwise don't have a clue.
Contest Trip Info and Cost: We offer two trips on the day of the contest, just as we have done the past several contests, giving each trip as much equal time on the water to view the contest as possible. The exact time for departure of first trip will be determined a day or two before the contest, but it is typically no later than one-half hour before the time the contest is scheduled to begin, usually around 7:30 a.m. give or take, and will return around three hours later, sometime around the end of the third heat. The second trip will depart usually sometime between 11am and noon in time to view as much of the two semi-finals heats as possible as well as the final heat. The departure for the first trip will be an exact time, but the departure time for the second trip all depends on how the contest is progressing. The position and movement of spectator boats near the break on the contest day has been regulated by the Coast Guard the last several years, but we know you want to get THAT shot and see as much as possible as safely as possible, and, rest assured, that's always our goal. The price is $290 per person per trip plus a $10 per seat non-refundable booking fee. Unfortunately, for those who would like to join us for both trips, we are no longer able to offer a discounted "both trips" price due to the extreme demand for this very limited event. Again, as spaces are extremely limited, no discounts are available.
Once you make a reservation with us for the contest, your reservation cannot be cancelled and is non-refundable, unless, however, Half Moon Bay Sportfishing is unable to provide the trip on the date of the Contest due to unsafe ocean conditions or any other circumstance which may prevent the vessels from operating on the Contest date. The tickets are, however, transferrable, provided you speak with us and make arrangements to let us know who will be taking your place prior to the date of the contest. In the unlikely event the Contest does not take place, all prepaid reservations will be promptly refunded at the end of the contest waiting period less the non-refundable $10 per seat booking fee.
For those with reservations, additional information will be emailed to you prior to the contest with as much detail as possible about the trip, departure time, directions, parking, what to bring, etc.
You may hear about others who will try to offer trips. Just keep in mind -- you get what you pay for! Shooting the breakers getting to and from Mavericks on a boat requires almost as much skill at times as it does on a board. The right equipment and experience can make all the difference, and we offer both on our boats. Last but not least, we operate out of Pillar Point Harbor, conveniently located just a stone's throw next to Mavericks, so customers simply board our boat right at our dock and have the shortest boat ride possible to get to the contest viewing area.
Non-contest days: You really want to see Mavericks up close and personal? Then these are the trips you want to be on as there are usually just a handful or two of boats on the water, no restriction of boat movement and placement on the water, and lots more unobstructed views of the action. We will offer three hour trips for $100 per person. The trips will more than likely be scheduled for 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon departure depending on demand, but it may vary depending on swells, tides, etc. We'll watch the reports and keep our ears open for news, and when it sounds good for surfing, we'll run a trip. We'll try to get an e-mail out as soon as possible, hopefully a couple of days beforehand. At that point, we'll take reservations on a first-come, first serve basis.
A lot of you have better contacts in the surfing world than I do, so any news you can pass on will be greatly appreciated. If you hear of any plans or see a good swell on the horizon, please let me know.
Private charters: If anyone's interested in a private charter for your own group FOR A NON-CONTEST DAY, just let us know. All we require is a 12 person minimum at $100 per person and the boat is yours for three hours (sorry, offer NOT valid on contest days). If you have more than 12, just add $100 for each additional person. The Queen of Hearts is licensed for up to 39 passengers.