The Boys Are Back In Town

After a couple year hiatus, last year’s Maverick’s Surf Contest had a whopping $10,000 total purse, but despite the relatively meager prize money — and the relatively unspectacular 15-foot surf — all the invitees, which included some of the best big wave surfers in the world, showed up. ” It’s a whole different planet when you go to Maverick’s,” contest organizer and Mav’s legend Jeff Clark points out. “And if all the boys are gonna be there, everybody wants to be there.”

And this year, the boys won’t be playing for peanuts. A South Bay company called Balance Vector, headed by former Sea Gate CEO (and beginning surfer) Steve Luczo, has fronted $75,000 to the cause.

Balance Vector is not a surf company, but they focus on sponsoring, as Luczoputs it, “world-class individual contributors — that is, athletes, artists,writers, cinematographers and musicians — who may not have access to massmarketing relationships.” Balance Vector’s “team” includes LA artist surferSandow Birk, world-class kite surfer Cindy Mosey, world-champion adventureracer Nathan Fa’avae, adventure racer Shawn Murphy (who just completed15,000 miles around the US in non-petroleum based vehicles), and theUS-based race Primal {{{Quest}}}.

And no, despite the cash, it’s not going to all of a sudden be called “The Balance Vector Maverick’s Contest” or anything. Luczo explains: “I think to the extent we keep it purer — not pure, ’cause obviously you need corporate sponsorship at some level — I think we have a better chance of over time having it make financial sense ’cause it’s going to be so different. There’s something about not branding something corporate that I think is going to be worth something over time. It may be nave, but I think the uniqueness of this approach is going to be apparent to people.”

How does Clark feel about not having a surf company corporate sponsor? “If we don’t fit a surf company’s demographic, you won’t find them anywhere in sight,” Clark maintains. “Even though the surfing going on out there is the best paddle-in big wave surfing in the world. It doesn’t fit their demographic so they ignore it. Thing is, you may not be considered a pro by anybody’s standards, but by big-wave standards you may be one of the best in the world. That’s why we’re running this thing.”

The waiting period for the Maverick’s Surf Contest runs December 1st to March 1st, but Clark would like to run it before the first of the year. Gary Linden and his experienced big-wave judging panel will be on hand to tally up points, and they’re hoping for good TV exposure and perhaps another documentary like last year’s. Prize money will be distributed as follows: first: $25K, second: $8K, third: $6K, fourth: $5K, fifth: $4K, sixth: $3K, and seventh: $2K. The rest will be distributed to the contestants evenly for an appearance fee.


2004/05 Maverick’s Surf Contest Invitees

1. Darryl “Flea” Virostko
2. Evan Slater
3. Peter Mel
4. Anthony Tashnick
5. Matt Ambrose
6. Grant Washburn
7. Carlos Burle
8. Garrett McNamara
9. Kenny Collins
10. Rodrigo Resende
11. Shane Desmond
12. Josh Loya
13. Russell Smith
14. Eraldo Gueiros
15. Brock Little
16. Greg Long
17. Ryan Seelback
18. Zack Wormhoundt
19. Mike Gerhardt
20. Randy Cone
21. Ross Clarke Jones
22. Tony Ray
23. Ion Banner
24. Shawn Rhodes