HALF MOON BAY — The new owners of Northern California’s storied big wave surf contest say they will overhaul the event in an attempt to broaden interest.
The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported Saturday that Cartel Management purchased the Mavericks International surf contest earlier this month. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Company owner Griffin Guess says a new logo, Facebook page and website among other changes will be created for the contest.
He also said he hopes to increase sponsorships and help pay the expenses of entrants, many of whom travel from overseas with only a day’s notice. Each year 24 of the world’s best big wave surfers get 24 hours’ notice when a large swell is rolling toward the Pacific Coast about 30 miles south of San Francisco. The waves often exceed 30 feet during the competition.
“These guys are getting smashed by 40 million tons of water per square foot. I don’t know what it really is,” Guess said. “For them to have to pay his own bar tab, it’s just not right. It’s not honorable.”
Guess says he’s trying to line up a major network to broadcast the event. This year’s contest was held in January and streamed live online by RedBull.tv.
The first contest was held in 1999, and its popularity has grown. The organizer’s website crashed in 2013 when more than 1 million tried to watch the live stream. Nonetheless, organizers have struggled financially and the event has experienced several ownership changes since its founding.
The contest also suffered a setback in 2010 when a rogue wave injured more than a dozen spectators, prompting authorities to ban fans from watching the off-shore event from the beach and bluffs.