Deal to Sell Mavericks Surf Contest at a Stalemate

The wave of optimism that the Mavericks big wave surf contest would resurface seems to have crashed again.

The world famous surf contest held at Pillar Point, near Half Moon Bay, had been in limbo after the current organizer, Cartel Management, filed for bankruptcy protection.

Hopes were raised in August, when Cartel asked the bankruptcy court to approve a $525,000 sale to the World Surf League, which runs other major surfing competitions.

But some of Cartel's past legal battles have come back to threaten the deal.

According to court papers filed Wednesday, Segler Holdings LLC, a Texas company, objected to the sale, saying it is not in the best interest of the bankruptcy estate.

As NBC Bay Area reported, Segler sued Cartel and its client model-actress Marisa Miller for breach of contract in June 2015 after a failed promotion of a sunless tanning line.

After a jury trial, the court awarded Segler $700,000 plus interest, which Segler said totaled nearly $812,000.

Segler approved delays to allow cartel to hold an auction in May 2016 to sell the contest permit and other assets. But Cartel canceled the auction at the last minute.

Court papers indicate Cartel canceled the aucition because another group seeking money and ownership, Mavericks Invitational Inc., had interfered with the sales efforts by filing what Cartel called, a "frivolous" claim for $2.145 million.

Segler wants to stop the WSL deal because it says the $525,000 is less than 20 percent of the total money owed and barely half of the court-approved minimum auction bid of $1 million.

The new legal twist will not only complicate ownership of the contest but also will resurrect a hotly disputed issue when the harbor district issued a 5-year permit to Cartel instead of a standard one-year deal, which some board members, including Commissioner Sabrina Brennan, said caused the legal turmoil.

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