Los Angeles

Future of Titans of Mavericks Surf Contest Remains Uncertain as Founder, Organizers Clash

The fate of the Titans of Mavericks surf contest hangs in the balance, and the fight over event ownership is still making big waves.

The current owner of the five-year contest permit, Cartel Management of Los Angeles, is involved in a public battle over the contest's legal rights with its presumed partner Mavericks Invitational Inc. (MII).

MII ran previous contests and its board is made up of event founder Jeff Clark, along with Cassandra Clark and Brian Overfelt.

At a meeting Wednesday night before the San Mateo County Harbor Commission, MII claimed that they had brought Cartel on board only to "assist" with "marketing and sponsorship development and intellectual property management."

In a document submitted to the commission, MII also said Cartel "appears to have surreptitiously omitted MII from the proposed permit" that goes from 2016/2017 through 2020/2021. It also claims the commission erroneously issued the permit to Cartel.

MII also said it was never provided a copy of the permit and did not know about the omission until Cartel filed for bankruptcy.

Cartel, meanwhile, disputed that notion and alleged that MII never requested to be on the permit.

When NBC Bay Area first broke the story of Cartel's bankruptcy filing, Jeff Clark said the Chapter 11 action was a complete surprise and Overfelt angrily commented, "We were totally blindsided."

Harbor Commissioner Sabrina Brennan says the legal issues surrounding Cartel and its company assets, which could include the permit, will make it difficult to sort out this issue quickly.

Titans of Mavericks is called when adequately sized waves come up at the Pillar Point site near Half Moon Bay. Invited surfers, including women this year, would then have 48 hours to show up to compete.

The contest window remains open until the end of March but it is unknown whether contest ownership can be sorted out in time. The process will be further tied up by the bankruptcy proceedings later this month, with Cartel having listed the permit as "for sale."

Although Cartel and other officials say the contest has not been cancelled, Brennan and MII members have told NBC Bay Area that it may be unrealistic to try and assemble a world-class contest with so much going on.

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