Cartel Wipes Out Titans of Mavericks
DOWN THE LINE SURF PODCAST
FEB 6, 2017 — The Contest at Mavericks needs to go away;– at least for five years. Let the egos and power brokers simmer down. Eventually, if it seems appropriate, perhaps a leader with a transparent mission can arise, someone like Greg Long, Grant Washburn… someone not tainted by the past and whose character transcends the bickering. Or maybe not. Maybe Mavericks as a contest site is just one big wipe out.
TITANS OF MAVERICK IS NOW TITANS OF BUMMER
NYT: The Mavericks surfing competition, the nation’s premier big wave event, has been canceled this year after organizers were sued by its sponsor and filed for bankruptcy, event representatives said Friday.
Held half a mile off Half Moon Bay in Northern California, the annual one-day contest features two dozen professional surfers competing on one of the world’s most dangerous surf breaks, where waves can reach 60 feet.
The event, officially known as Titans of Mavericks, takes place between November and March after a 48-hour notice is given when conditions are right, aligning clear weather and majestic swells.
The cancellation comes one week after Red Bull, Mavericks’ broadcaster and only sponsor, filed a lawsuit against the event’s promotional and management groups, Cartel Management and Titans of Mavericks, for breach of contract, seeking $400,000.
In its bankruptcy filings, Cartel faces claims of about $1.9 million and Titans of Mavericks faces more than $776,335, according to court records filed Tuesday.
“The event is totally done this year,” said Brian Overfelt, one of the three Mavericks Invitational board members. “It’s impossible. There’s no way this event will happen. We were completely and totally blindsided.”
Jeff Clark, the event’s founder and a well-known big wave surfer, was shocked and frustrated by the news, which he first learned of from news reports. He said there was a disconnect between the surf community and event organizers, who lacked “commitment to this sacred place in their hearts and souls.”
“Our primary focus has always been to support the men and women who surf Mavericks and to preserve the sanctity of the wave and support our local community,” Clark said. “We have sacrificed much to create a stage for the world’s best big wave surfers. We are disappointed.”
This year’s Mavericks was to have been the first to allow female surfers. Sabrina Brennan, who heads the San Mateo County Harbor Commission, which manages the Mavericks surf area, helped in the fight to include women.
“This event has been plagued with problems since its inception,” she said. “Trying to generate revenue from an event like Mavericks is a challenge. You need a more organized and committed group of people to pull it off.”
She added, “This is not good for the sport, and it’s not good for the athletes.”
Several surfers have reached out to Brennan and requested that the commission terminate the five-year event permit with Cartel, which is also Brennan’s recommendation. That would allow another party to apply for a Mavericks permit in the future.
Red Bull, which was to provide the contest’s prize money, filed a lawsuit against event organizers for breach of contract Jan. 27. Lawyers for Red Bull declined to comment.
Titans of Mavericks said it was hopeful that this year’s event could still be saved if the bankruptcy process and a sale of its business operations go quickly.
“The bankruptcy filing came after having had several conversations with multiple interested parties who were looking at an acquisition that could happen quickly, with a minimum of legal complications,” Griffin Guess, the Titans of Mavericks founder, said in a statement.
Surfers, shocked and saddened by the news, were already in town for the event and had been steadily approaching Overfelt at his restaurant Old Princeton Landing, a local hangout.
“They’ll come anyway,” he said. “They always do. We could still hold this thing. But we won’t. It’s over. And we’re not kooks.”
You and I saw the writing on the wall in November when it was epic and they didn’t run the event;
We spoke on this podcast ; it seemed awfully fishy
I spoke with Jeff Clarke IN DECEMBER and it became very clear that the underlying politics was thick;
The surfers themselves, the Grant Twiggy Bakers, The Greg Longs of the world; they just want to run a big wave contest at Mavericks; for the surfers the big wave fraternity
Sabrina Brenna– a San Mateo County Harbor Commissioner and who heads up the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing who has hashtag #bigwavefeminisim , #surfraggetes on her tweets- she is suggesting that jeff Clark was conned by the cartel. She represents Bianca Valenti ; and together they forced Cartels hand making the Committee of 5 include a Womens Heat.
“The Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing is disappointed but not surprised at the latest news that Titans of Mavericks and The Cartel have sought bankruptcy court protections right in the middle of the permitted time for a surf contest.”
Jeff Clarke – Who is the understood and recognized cultural overseer of the surf break due to his 40 years of time in the water. He’s stated his interest is with the surfers.
Clark is part of the four-person board for Mavericks Invitational Inc., which was acquired along with the contest by Cartel Management in 2014. The board, which also includes Clark’s wife Cassandra, longtime Maverick’s surfer Ken Collins and Half Moon Bay area businessman Brian Overfelt, was charged with helping oversee a smooth transition and with advising Guess on matters concerning the contest and its athletes. In addition, Clark headed up the contest’s Committee 5, which hand-selected the 24 men and six women invited to compete in 25-foot or larger waves.
Yet Clark said he was blindsided by the recent news.
“Those of us with Mavericks Invitational Inc. are shocked and frustrated by the unexpected news of the Chapter 11 filing by Cartel Management Inc. and Titans of Mavericks LLC,” he wrote in an email to the Sentinel. “Our primary focus has always been to support the men and women who surf Mavericks, preserve the sanctity of the wave and support our local community. We have sacrificed much to create a stage for the world’s best big wave surfers, and we are disappointed that this latest news adds to the stormy history of the event and the wave. To learn of the filing through the media only highlights the disconnect between our community and the promises made but not fulfilled by those who do not carry the commitment to this sacred place in their hearts and souls.”
Controversy from the beginning: But controversy has also followed it from the beginning. One of its first moves was to extract the contest from Body Glove, which in 2014 had signed on to be a three-year title sponsor later filed a lawsuit that is still ongoing. It also limited access to the break on contest day for media and passenger boats.
Sponsors never materialized, which partly explains why the Cartel and Titans of Mavericsk owe approximately $2.5 million to their top 20 creditors. Cartel and Miller also recently lost a $1 million lawsuit for breach of contract after failing to fulfill their marketing obligations with a self-tanning company.
THE BIG ASSET IS THE PERMIT. Among the companies’ remaining assets are the five-year exclusive permits they were granted by several agencies to hold the surf contest at Maverick’s. No one seems to know what will happen to those permits, or to the contest, if the bankruptcy leads to a sale of the two companies.
The Contest at Mavericks needs to go away;– at least for five years. Let the egos and power brokers simmer down . Eventually, if it seems appropriate, perhaps a leader with a transparent mission can arise , someone like Greg Long, Grant Washburn… someone not tainted by the past and whose character transcends the bickering. Or maybe not. Maybe Mavericks as a contest site is just one big wipeout.