Mavericks cancelled due to bankruptcy


Shalom Jacobovitz / CC BY-SA 3.0

Greg Long surfs a massive wave at Mavericks in Half Moon Bay.

Sean Vanderaa, Staff Writer

The surfing world is in shock after the cancellation of a top-tier surfing event, the Titans of Mavericks.

On Feb. 3, Cartel Management and its related entity, Titans of Mavericks, filed for bankruptcy after their sponsor, Red Bull, placed a lawsuit against them for apparent contract violation.

Known for its incredibly large and powerful waves, this annual event was attended by the world’s best surfers, so it came as a surprise when people were told that the event was to be cancelled.

“This is not good for the sport, and it’s not good for the athletes,” said Sabrina Brennan, the head of the San Mateo County Harbor Commission.

Overall, Cartel faces roughly $1.9 million in claims, and Titans of Mavericks faces upwards of $775,000.

Furthermore, this year was going to be the first year in which female athletes were allowed to participate in the contest, an effort headed by Brennan, making the whole situation even more devastating to the athletes.

We have sacrificed much to create a stage for the world’s best big wave surfers.”

— Jeff Clark

“It’s impossible. There’s no way this event will happen. We were completely and totally blindsided,” said Brian Overfelt, a Mavericks Invitational board member, commenting on whether or not the event would be held this year.

Many surfers are asking Brennan to terminate the five-year contract with Cartel, which would allow for Mavericks to possibly be run next year.

Jeff Clark, a Mavericks surfer and the event creator, is equally devastated. “[The event organizers] lacked commitment to this sacred place in their hearts and souls,” he said.

Established in 1999, the event started after a few friends decided to risk their lives and surf the occasional 60-foot waves that were half a mile off the shore of Half Moon Bay.

Mavericks is notorious for being dangerous, with one recorded death and many injuries plaguing the timeline of the event; because of this, only an elite group of surfers are allowed to surf the spot.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “They were surprised and upset to hear about the financial issues facing this famed competition.’

Although it may seem as though the only loss is for the surfers and viewers, the cancellation also hurts the small business owners and restaurants that rely on the event for their own profits, as it attracts people from all over California and even the world.

“We have sacrificed much to create a stage for the world’s best big wave surfers. We are disappointed,” said Clark.