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Waves Take Out Spectators At Surf Contest Near Half Moon Bay

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Sat, Feb 13, 2010 at 10:35 PM

Big surf and a high tide combined to send a few waves over a breakwater and into dozens of spectators at the Mavericks Surf Contest Saturday in Princeton-By-The-Sea near Half Moon Bay.

The waves started hitting shortly after 9 a.m. and injured at least a dozen people, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Television reports reported at least two people, including a photographer, were hospitalized for broken bones -- ankle and leg injuries.

Scaffolding erected to support an awards-ceremony stand on the beach was felled by the waves. A second set of waves produced more injures about a half hour after the first, according to a TV report. As many as 20,000 -- perhaps more -- came to the hard-to-access beach to see the action.

Beach watchers reported the surf at the contest was some of the biggest they've seen, with some estimating wave-face heights at 40 feet. South African Chris Bertish, who said he "flew 36 hours to be here," won the contest Saturday.

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