A week after Titans Of Mavericks organizers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, one of the event’s three board members has confirmed that Half Moon Bay’s big-wave event has been canceled, according to The New York Times.
"The event is totally done this year," Brian Overfelt, one of the event board members, told The Times. "It's impossible. There's no way this event will happen. We were completely and totally blindsided."
The tailspin for contest organizer Cartel Management began on January 27th, when Red Bull, the contest’s primary media sponsor, sued Cartel and Titans of Mavericks LLC over claims of a contract breach. The ramifications of Cartel’s bankruptcy filings, which factored in claims from 49 creditors, including Fox Sports, were steep: $1.9 million in liabilities against Cartel, and $776,335 against Titans of Mavericks, based on court records. Still, the move allowed Cartel to continue operations as it hustled to find a buyer in time to run the contest during peak Mavs season. "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," said TOM founder Griffin Guess in an official statement. “Titans of Mavericks intends for such a sale to ensure a smooth and swift transition of the business and operations.”
But news of the event’s cancellation suggests that no buyers have come forward and that the window for a timely transition has closed. According to The Times, several surfers have reached out to San Mateo County Harbor Commissioner Sabrina Brennan–an important voice in the fight to include a women’s event at Mavs this year–and have asked the commission to end its five-year permit with Cartel, which would create an opportunity for another group to apply for the permit in the future. The frustration in transparency over the event’s cancelation is widespread among the big-wave community. Event founder Jeff Clark reportedly discovered the news secondhand from a web feature. For now, after this latest announcement, the future of his beloved contest will need to wait until 2018.
"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 to The Times. "We have sacrificed much to create a stage for the world's best big-wave surfers. We are disappointed."
[Above: Greg Long, Photo by Ellis]