Jeff Clark, the man who discovered Mavericks, issued a statement Thursday in response to the announcement earlier in the week that he had stepped down as contest director of the Mavericks Surf Contest. Here’s the statement in full:
“Over the past several years, it has been obvious that my vision and priorities are not in line with those of Mavericks Surf Ventures. I have had in the past, and continue to have, strong differences of opinion with the present CEO and Board about the direction, image and priorities of the company and the contest.
“The press release issued by Mavericks Surf Ventures this week stating that I ‘stepped down’ and I am ‘passing the torch to the next generation’ is wrong. The reality is that I was ousted as contest director by the current CEO.
“I must also note that, while the company’s news release states that this year’s contest will be held to celebrate ‘the 35th anniversary of Jeff Clark’s first session at the now world-famous break,’ the 35th anniversary is actually next season, in 2010-11. I will not allow the company to use my accomplishment as a marketing tactic.
“Effective today, I have resigned from the board of directors of Mavericks Surf Ventures.
“My vision for the Mavericks Surf Contest has been unwavering: It is about the family of big wave surfers, the spirit of the ocean, and this amazing wave. I never wanted that to be compromised for the sake of money or marketing opportunities. I think that focus is obvious to anyone who knows me or who has seen my priorities over the years.
“Mavericks has been an integral part of my personal and professional life for more than 30 years, and I hope that it continues to be a part of both in the future.
“I wake up looking at Mavericks, and I have watched and surfed those waves most of my life. I started the contest 10 years ago, and I can say one thing for sure: Mavericks is Mavericks. The waves will come – or not – when they will.
“The one thing I would truly regret would be to see a committee deciding, based on sponsorship money and media opportunities, when the best day to run the contest would be, and have it turn into just another 10 foot swell with a lot of hype and not a lot of substance. Any true Mavericks surfer wants and deserves a real test of ability.
“I wish everyone well, knowing that Mavericks will always take care of itself.
“I wish I could say more at this time, but I have had limited time to absorb these changes and will have more to say about this situation as things become clearer.”
Wow. The Mercury News had a brief story Friday on Clark’s statement that included an interview with Mavericks Surf Ventures CEO Keir Beadling, who took a couple veiled shots at Clark, saying it would be “sad” for anyone (Clark?) to think Mavericks is about just one person.
He also said, “There’s been a long-term sense of tyranny that we’re now out from under.”
Basically, it looks like Beadling thought Clark was too picky and capricious when it came to selecting a contest date, while Clark doesn’t want marketers to hold contests when the waves aren’t right just to make a buck.
The Times will have more on this feud, which simmered for a long time and has now broken fully into the open, early this week, I’m sure.