Public meeting to decide who will run a surf contest at Maverick's

Mavericks Battle Royale.jpg

The situation surrounding a possible surf contest at famed big wave surf break Maverick's has taken an interesting turn. The Godfather of Maverick's Jeff Clark has informed me that the San Mateo County Harbor District is holding a Board of Commissioners Meeting this evening, June 1st at 7 PM at the Half Moon Bay Comfort Inn. Paragraph 5 of the Board of Commissioners Meeting Agenda is titled, "Limited Commercial Activity Permit for Mavericks Community, LLC" with the proposed action being "Approve Limited Commercial Activity Permit with conditions". The issue is proposed by San Mateo County Harbor District General Manager Peter Grenell.

I emailed Grenell to see if he would answer a few questions regarding the process of how a permit is issued to hold a surf contest at Maverick's. "The Harbor District does not issue permits for surf contests at Maverick's (or anywhere else). The District may approve a limited permit to use specified District facilities for particular limited purposes. That's all," responded Grenell. "The District absolutely does not decide who can and can't run a contest at Maverick's. It is a common misunderstanding, but we don't rule the waves."

I then asked Grenell to explain what the "Limited Commercial Activity Permit" entails. "A Limited Commercial Activity Permit may be issued when an applicant desires to hold a single event, or a limited number of events depending upon the type of event, size, intended location, and potential impacts on harbor operations and public health and safety," wrote Grenell. "This sort of activity differs from that for which a Commercial Activity Permit is required, such as operating a charter fishing vessel throughout a year."

Grenell's point in essence is that because Maverick's breaks close to a mile away from the beach, it is outside the Harbor District's jurisdiction. On a pragmatic level however, any contest at Maverick's would require exclusive beach and parking lot access, in addition to the Harbor District's involvement with public safety concerns.

I asked Clark if he could further clarify the permit process. "The activity permit is what is needed to run the contest," said Clark, who founded the first surf contest at Maverick's and has run numerous contests spanning nearly a decade. "Grenell is absolutely wrong when saying the Harbor District doesn't issue the permit. The activity permit is just that. A permit to run a surf contest at Maverick's."

In other words, the San Mateo County Harbor District decides who can and can't run surf contests at Maverick's.

Which makes things all the more interesting since the title of paragraph 5 of tomorrow's Board of Commissioners Meeting Agenda states, "Limited Commercial Activity Permit for Mavericks Community, LLC." The Mavericks Community, LLC is a group led by Clark's ex-wife, Katherine Kelly Clark. The group was previously called the Half Moon Bay Surf Group, and it disbanded after Barracuda Networks, who was previously part of the group, decided to no longer have any affiliation with a surf contest at Maverick's. The remaining members along with a few new individuals formed the Mavericks Community, LLC and based off the Commissioners Meeting Agenda looks to not only be vying for the activity permit needed to run a surf contest at Maverick's, but to have the inside track. It's worth noting that the Mavericks Group, LLC isn't registered as a Limited Liability Company in the State of California's online database.

Clark, who isn't a part of the Mavericks Community, LLC and who recently expressed interest in retaking the helm of a surf contest at Maverick's, commented on the group and their goals.

"There is a group trying to get a permit for a contest at Maverick's. They are claiming to be the Maverick's Community, I don't know anyone in the community that has been invited," said Clark. "Please come (to the meeting) and ask questions, who are they and what other options are there. Help me protect Maverick's from the pretenders!"

Clark went on to say that he is disturbed by the notion that the San Mateo County Harbor District was planning on issuing the Limited Commercial Activity Permit to the Mavericks Community, LLC with little fanfare nor notification to other interested parties.

Anyone is welcome to attend the San Mateo County Harbor District Board of Commissioners Meeting and ask questions, share thoughts and address concerns. If you wish to attend the meeting, it is scheduled to begin Wednesday, June 1st at 7 PM at the Comfort Inn in Half Moon Bay.