HALF MOON BAY (KCBS) — It’s that time of year again when some of the world’s best big-wave surfers start making plans to head to Half Moon Bay to take part in the annual Maverick’s invitational surf contest.

The surf contest window opened on Thursday and the contest could be called any time until March 31.

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Participants, this year, will notice some changes.

Firstly, the title of the event has changed; it’s now called the “Titans of Mavericks” and it’s also under new ownership of Cartel Management, a Los Angeles-based firm.

At press conference one Tuesday, Cartel announced that there would be no spectator festival held along with the contest this year.

The festival, which started in 2012, was successful in drawing ticket sales—about 15,000 people reportedly attended in 2013. But there has also been many problems—including live video feeds that would often fail—causing last year’s ticket sales to plummet.

The Half Moon Bay Review reported that Cartel, which just purchased Mavericks in July, decided there wasn’t enough time to organize the festival and said better designed events would happen in the future.

Meanwhile, surfer Grant Washburn told KCBS that this year’s competition could begin at any time.

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“The event has to be held on peak day of surf. Some years we don’t actually get many of those; in fact, some years we won’t even get a single day,” he said.

This year’s El Niño pattern is expected to bring more big waves.

“We had some giant surf just before Christmas, which was the best since 2010,” Washburn said. “Every year is not equal and some years are better than others. So hopefully this is one of those good years.”

Once the contest actually begins, the surfers have just 24 hours to get themselves to Half Moon Bay.

“Everyone’s been following the weather so we’ll all be aware of a big swell coming; and probably like two or three days before that, everyone will have made their preparations and be ready to go,” Washburn said.

He said that big-wave surfing is a different sport than regular competitive surfing and that for most surfers, who ride big waves, the competition is secondary to the idea that they are all in it together to catch the biggest waves possible.

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“The Mavericks contest is just really special. It’s the first on the continental U.S,” he said. “There weren’t really these kinds of waves known to be around twenty years ago and Mavericks has become kind sort of a Mount Everest of locations where we found others in other parts of the world but this is a very special spot.”