Titans of Mavericks surf competition organizers file for bankruptcy

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KTVU) - The Titans of Mavericks Surf Competition is facing some rough waters after organizers of the event filed for bankruptcy this week. 

The two organizers of the competition are facing serious financial problems and residents in the sleepy coastal town near Half Moon Bay where Mavericks usually happens say they are distraught over the news.

The best surfers from around world have been coming to Pillar Point every year since 1999 to take part in this event. The competitors are called when conditions are ideal with swells of at least 25 feet. 

Those conditions can occur any time between now and the end of March. 

On Tuesday, however, the Titans of Mavericks company and Cartel Management both filed for bankruptcy in federal court. According to a report in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, those same two companies are being sued by Red Bull Media House for breach of contract.

Competitors say they were given between 48-72 hours notice, which is not much warning for fans of the surf contest, which attracts big wave surfers from around the world.

"It's addicting," said Colin Dwyer, of Pacifica. He has competed in Mavericks for the past five years and describes the feeling of riding 25-60 foot waves off Pillar Point Harbor as "a roller coaster but you're not strapped in." 

According to the bankruptcy filings, Cartel Management owes $700,000 over a dispute regarding the promotion of sunless tanning products, and $280,000 to Fox Sports in another disputed claim. Some 49 creditors were listed with liabilities of between $1-$10 million.
"It's a stab in the heart," said Brian Overfelt, who owns Old Princeton Landing Public House and Grill, a popular spot for surfers and Mavericks fans alike.
He said he sensed something was wrong last Thursday, when conditions were pristine for the contest.
"What I was thinking was, why didn't we have the contest today?" he said. "We want to see this thing run for many good reasons."
Some surfers said they hope the World Surfing League will pick up the reins and take over the Titans of Mavericks. Some fans said they are particularly disappointed because this year women were going to be allowed to compete.
Dwyer said he believes it'll all work itself out.
"It's sad, but carry on, move on there's still going to be really big days that the waves are really good where the world's going to fly in to surf and we still get to party afterward," he said.
KTVU reporters Alex Savidge and Tara Moriarty contributed to this report.
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