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Major Mavericks drama

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.

Posted on Sunday, June 28th, 2009
Under: Half Moon Bay, Mavericks, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Big wave film festival in Half Moon Bay

The first-annual Half Moon Bay Big-Wave Surfing Film Festival is underway at the Oceano Hotel in Princeton Harbor, not far from the Mavericks* break. (File photo above, taken by Mathew Sumner, depicts Grant Long scoring a perfect 10 on a wave during the 2008 Mavericks contest.)

You can still catch Friday and Saturday night’s festivities. Here’s a listing of what’s on tap, courtesy of the organizers:

Friday, June 19, Harbor Villages Atrium
Reception at 6 p.m., followed at 7 p.m. by “Year of the Drag-In,” a film produced by Eric Nelson, Curt Myers and Frank Quirarte, featuring a cast of international stars as they took the tow-in revolution to new limits in waves up to 70 feet on the face.

8:30 p.m. “Maverick’s,” a documentary film produced and narrated by Grant Washburn, written with Bruce Jenkins, chronicles the story of how Maverick’s became one of the world’s top big-wave surf spots.

Saturday, June 20, Harbor Villages Atrium
Reception at 6 p.m, followed at 7 p.m. by “One Winter Story,” by Frank Films. Filmmakers Sally Lundburg and Elizabeth Pepin study the inspiring life of Santa Cruz surfer Sarah Gerhardt, the first woman to ride Mavericks.

*Is “Mavericks” supposed to have an apostrophe or not? Trying to figure it out gives me a headache. We’ll have to consult with Coastside reporter and resident Mavericks expert Julia Scott when she returns to the office on Monday.

Posted on Thursday, June 18th, 2009
Under: Half Moon Bay, Mavericks, San Mateo County | No Comments »