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Photos: Mighty waves at Mavericks

Some of the world's best surfers battle it out at the renowned big-wave competition.
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1 of 6 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Surfer

Some of the world's best surfers rode the big waves off Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay, Calif., on Tuesday. The annual surf competition is one of the more challenging ones: Sharks frequent the area, waves crest at 25 feet, and a ridge of jagged rocks lies between the participants and land.

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2 of 6 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Big wave

One competitor torpedoes down a massive wave during the Mavericks Surf Contest. The official contest period runs from Jan. 1 through March 31. The exact date is determined after the contest organizers' meteorology expert predicts when waves will be at their peak. Participants must be ready to hit the beach with only 24 hours' notice.

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3 of 6 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Three surfers

Three's a crowd as these competitors fight for prime placement on a wave.

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4 of 6 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

View from above

Thousands of people line the beaches and cliffs near Half Moon Bay for the 2006 Mavericks Surf Contest. Because the contest takes place half a mile offshore, binoculars are practically required to follow the action.

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5 of 6 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Wipeout

This surfer's run takes a turn for the worse as the crest of a wave barrels down on him from above.

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6 of 6 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Flotilla

A makeshift flotilla of locals, paid charters, and media goes to sea every year to catch a close-up look at the Mavericks surfing competition. The San Francisco Chronicle even put a photographer on a helicopter.

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