Mavericks Surf Legend Sues Over "Corporate Circus"

Surf contest spat leads to lawsuit

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The crowds line up to check out the Mavericks Surf Contest.

    Mavericks surf competition founder Jeff Clark is suing the company now managing the famous contest, claiming that new directors have not honored contract and financial obligations.

    Clark filed a complaint in San Francisco Superior Court Tuesday, alleging Mavericks Surf Ventures Inc. CEO Keir Beadling and the company's directors breached two contracts with Clark, withheld payments, and did not disclose basic financial information to shareholders, according to Clark's attorney, Richard Mooney.

    Clark founded the competition, which brings surfers from around the world to Half Moon Bay to await ideal surf conditions during a pre-specified window of time. When wave conditions are ideal, contestants are given 24-hours' notice that the competition will be held. The wave watch started three months earlier this year in hopes of catching the best big waves to get the contest going. Contestants were given the heads up to twice already this season but the contest was called off both times because the surf was too big and presented a danger that even the extreme surfers didn't venture to take.

    In 2003, Clark partnered with Evolve Sports, which led to the creation of Mavericks Surf Ventures to run the event. The company announced last year that Clark was stepping down as contest director, however Clark has said in interviews and on his personal blog that he was forced out of the contest he founded.

    "When I signed on to partner with Keir and Evolve Sports, I trusted them to do the right thing, to honor my spirit and passion for surfing," Clark said via a news release. "I made a mistake and I trusted the wrong people. They have refused to honor the contracts they created and have turned the contest into a corporate circus."

    Clark had wanted to resolve the dispute in private, he says on his blog. Now he just wants to take the case to trial to, "put an end to this mistake of a partnership and let me move on with my life."

     "Jeff was ousted from his position," his attorney Richard Mooney said Tuesday. "They continue to use his name and likeness to promote  the competition and the contest, even after they made sure he couldn't have any connection to it."

    Bay City News contributed to this report.