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Surfers Open Mavericks With Ceremonial Paddle Out, Prayers

Contest competitors, alternates and former champions from around the world celebrated the beginning of the 2011-2012 contest in Half Moon Bay.

Top surfers from Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz and around the world opened the big wave surf contest on Friday with prayers and a paddle out at Mavericks Beach just outside Half Moon Bay.

Seventeen competitors, alternates, and former Mavericks contest champions participated in the ceremony, including 3-time winner and now-retired Darryl "Flea" Virostko from Santa Cruz.

Other opening ceremonies participants came from South Africa, Australia and Brazil. Hawaii's Kohl Christensen wore a "Live Like Sion" shirt commemorating , the surfer who traveled from Hawaii and while riding Mavericks' last big waves of the 2010-2011 winter season.

Read the full story, see more photos, and watch a video of the opening ceremonies on Half Moon Bay Patch by clicking .

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