From a contest in Leemore, California at an exclusive, artificial playground, to one in Half Moon Bay featuring awe-inspiring natural forces, the World Surf League has certainly diversified its roster of events in recent months, announcing on Monday that it has added Mavericks to its slate of big-wave events. The WSL reached an agreement with Titans of Mavericks, and the beleaguered event's management company Cartel Management, and will add the famed NorCal big wave to the WSL's Big Wave Tour through 2021.
"We're very pleased with this opportunity to work with the big-wave community in bringing the Mavericks event to life on the international stage," WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt said in a press release. "The League has always held a high amount of respect for both the venue and its community as one of the pillars of big-wave surfing. The WSL intends to continue to run the Mavericks event and celebrate the stories of those who steward and surf it through the Big-Wave Tour. This is a huge moment for both the organization and the sport of surfing."
Much like traversing the wave's infamous "boneyard," holding a contest at Mavericks has been a fraught and strained proposition. Issues arising from sponsorship to permitting have made a Mavs contest more a rarity than the norm. Although an invitational contest was established in 1999, just ten comps have been held at Mavs since. The contest was renamed Titans of Mavericks in 2014, after OG Mavs’ charger and Mavericks Invitational, LLC. founder Jeff Clark partnered with Cartel, but TOM ran just once in in the years that followed.
After Cartel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Titans was set to go on the auction block, but with looming doubts about the efficacy of a $1 million price tag for the event, the management company abruptly cancelled the auction. The WSL swooped in, and in late-August a Los Angeles county court judge approved the $525K sale, the WSL acquiring the event and the crucial San Mateo Harbor District permit.
Mavs joins Puerto Escondido, Pe'ahi, and Nazaré as one of four stops on the WSL's Big Wave World Tour, which has been running since 2014.
“Every big-wave surfer and fan on the planet knows that Mavericks holds a special place within this community," Mike Parsons, WSL Big-Wave Commissioner, said in a press release. "It's one of the best big wave locations in the world, and the opportunity to put it alongside Puerto Escondido, Nazaré and Pe'ahi is massive for the Big Wave Tour. After discussion with the athletes and the Senior Management team, including it in this year's season was a no-brainer."
No word yet on a waiting period for the Mavs event. But it's nice to know that when NorCal lights up sometime within the next 14 months, we'll be able to see the world's best, decked head-to-toe in neoprene, finally corralling the naturally (and litigiously) untamable beasts of Mavericks.