Surf Contest Permit Yanked From Longtime Mavericks Organizer

HALF MOON BAY (KCBS) – The new group selected to organize the Mavericks Surf Contest has promised to limit public access to the shore to prevent the spectator injuries that marred last year’s competition.

Fans who venture down to Pillar Point will be directed away from the beach and toward local restaurants and hotels hosting contest viewing parties, said Sally Campbell, president of the San Mateo County Harbor Commission.

“It’s a big event. It’s an important event. It’s worldwide now, and we want to go with somebody that we can trust and that, if there’s any problems, that we have somebody to go that we can talk to,” she said.

KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

The Half Moon Bay Surf Group was awarded the permit on Wednesday for an event that can attract as many as 100,000 spectators.

Complaints from locals about crowd control became common as the event grew in popularity.

Last February, 25-foot swells combined with an incoming tide to create waves that crashed ashore and injured a dozen people who had ventured down a cliff above the beach for a clear view of the contestants.

Some blamed long time promoter Mavericks Surf Ventures, founded by surfer Jeff Clark, for not ensuring viewer safety. The new organization is run by his ex-wife, Katherine Clark Kelly.

Clark said he’s considering taking Kelly to court for trademark violations and stealing intellectual property.

The window for the contest opens on December 1.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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