HALF MOON BAY, Calif. — With a Pacific storm pushing big waves toward California, organizers of a contest at one of the world's most perilous surfing spots have told competitors to grab their boards and get ready.

Jeff Clark, director of the Mavericks event, set the contest for Friday after forecasters predicted that the mix of swell size and weather would make for waves with faces exceeding 40 feet.

Twenty-four of the world's best big wave surfers now have until then to make their way to the break a half-mile off the coast near Half Moon Bay.

Two seasoned watermen have died there, including legendary big-wave rider Mark Foo from Hawaii in 1994.

This year's competitors feature local and international surfers, including former Mavericks champion Greg Long.

Started at The Press in 1993 as an Ocean County reporter. Moved to the copy desk in 1994 until taking over as editor of At The Shore in 1995. Became deputy sports editor in 2004 and was promoted to sports editor in 2007.