It was a bad setup, but I have seen the same sort of thing happen on cliffs in socal. You will see people standing on the edges etc, even when the surf is huge, and for hours, you will see the large higher tide sets re-form and slap up against the rocks/cliffs. People watch it hit real low, and go down and chill, then like once every couple of hours, the wrong combination of shifting tide, drainage from the ocean pulling all the water back over the reefs after a huge set has pushed in a lot of water... It will start to drain back out, then eventually fill back in, which usually results in a huge surge of water throwing itself up on the cliffs then pulling spectators out to sea. Happens all winter long out here.... And that is only on a 10-15 foot day down here. I can't imagine how much the effect is magnified at Mavericks on a huge NW swell.
That was extremely poor planning by the even coordinators. They should have known that it was dangerous there. That should NEVER happen at a professional event. Retarded.
I was watching it online the other day and I couldn't believe what I was watching! It was complete carnage and mayhem on the beach and it almost took down the commentators' scaffolding. Best surf contest ever!
man, thats crazy... I wonder if they didn't have enough evidence before hand, that there might be some surges?
The official contest director said that there were signs posted EVERYWHERE, saying that is was unsafe to spectate from the rocks on the edge there. They had police officers and a whole paramedic/fire staff on site. The police and firemen should have ENFORCED all the posted warnings. There were signs all over saying. "Dangerous wave surges". Do not stand near sea wall..... So yes, they had seen it happening earlier in the day when the tide was wrong. They were all warned. But like I said, in the winter, 3-4 hours will go by where the same tide will slap the rocks and splash up all huge, then once the tide fills in the wrong way and the sets roll into the water once it stops pulling out, it macks up and will just suck people off their feet.... It only happens a couple times per day, but when it happens you better not be on the edge of the cliffs. It happens all over, and these directors KNEW that. They should have enforced it.... Thats the dumb part..