The Reason Why Mavericks Surf Ventures is Dead Wrong about Injury-Causing Rogue Waves

First of all, let’s acknowledge the fine performances of all the competitors at our recent Mavericks Surf Contest 2009-2010 and especially that of Chris Bertish. As it turned out, his victory was overshadowed somewhat by discussion of the giant “rogue” sneaker waves* that injured a dozen or so spectators.

Mad props:

Having said that, let’s take a look at higher-def footage of the problem, ably shot by KRON VJ (video jockey) Haaziq Madyun. And here’s the reverse angle. And ganderize your eyes on this bird’s-eye view of the scene. If this were the Olympics, this would be the Olympic Village:

via dwan.mac click to expand

O.K. then. Comes now MSV’s Matriarch and area Realtor Katherine Clark to say:

And let’s hear from MSV CEO and former lawyer Kier Beidling:

Bringing common sense is a must for anyone who shows up to watch from the beach.”

Fair enough, but isn’t this your temporary awards stand getting demolished by a tiny tsunami? Was “common sense” used to place it there?

And wasn’t this formerly-underwater piece of sound equipment placed exactly where you wanted it to be?

via dwan.mac

So please let’s go easy on any more nagging, patronizing Respect The Ocean talk coming from MSV, considering that MSV and its sponsors appeared to be just as unaware as some of the spectators.

In other words, if this unsecured P.A. loudspeaker ended up killing a fan, all the DANGER: HEAVY SURF signs in all Christendom wouldn’t save your hides from a dead-bang, seven-figure wrongful death lawsuit. (If you think you see a bunch of people people in the water around the speaker in the video, your guess is correct.)

So that is exactly “how on Earth we [MSV] could be responsible for people willfully going to the ocean.”

(Hello? Hello? Anybody home? Huh? Think, McFly!)

In other words, from the 2/16/10 Santa Cruz Sentinel:

“The Maverick’s contest organizers probably realize that, in retrospect, it was unwise to put scaffolding and platforms in an exposed area and then allow spectators too close to the high tide line and a seawall along the Pillar Point coastline.”

You see? That’s why the party line of having MSV reps repeatedly bleating about how spectators just need some common sense doesn’t wash.

Now do I think that this fellow (people never seem to let go of their cameras or their beer, huh?) and others who got banged up by the surf on their own will win any possible lawsuits their shysters file? No.

via dwan.mac

But do I suppose that things could be handled differently by Mavericks Surf Ventures the next go around?


(Contrary to what you might have heard, no post mortem meetings with county (or other) authoritahs are scheduled this week. But they’ll be coming soon.)

*Or surge or whatever. It’d be nice to have one descriptive term to cover all these different words…

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7 Responses to “The Reason Why Mavericks Surf Ventures is Dead Wrong about Injury-Causing Rogue Waves”

  1. fsharp says:

    Katherine Clark is a moron and this proves it.

  2. saltychump says:

    Jeff Clark being forced out by this woman was a blessing in disguise. He won’t be there when all these lawsuits come raining down on the organization.

  3. judy says:

    your description and comments about the rogue wave calamity were right on. thanks for the links. I hear that tides are increasing in height up and down the west coast- climate change? thanks again

  4. McFly2 says:

    Amen! Finally someone tells it like it is! That scaffolding that was wiped out included SPECTATOR BLEACHERS! Placed right on a spot that was under water many times this winter with the same swell direction at half this height. THEY WERE WARNED OF THIS IN ADVANCE BY THE SURFERS (look at pre-event news interview with a Pacifica surfer on KTVU) and by the logistics coordinator. Furthermore, the MSV website tells spectators how to get to the beach, where to catch the MSV shuttle to the beach, and where to buy beer on and off the beach. Yes, people need to be aware around the ocean (but this area is a LAGOON, not the exposed ocean – it was a surge of water, not a rogue wave). But to place the blame on people for being there is insane. It’s a mixed message to tel people to stay home, but then tell them how to get there and give them transportation and seating, and then blame them for not staying home Their marketing machine hyped the contest every single swell so much that you had to go see it for yourself. Keir Beadling is quoted as saying the events were “blown out of proportion.” Tell that to the people with broken legs whose lives are completely changed, no matter who was at fault. Katherine Clark was quoted as saying what happened was a “killjoy.” A killjoy? They turned it into a circus completely on their own And now they blame the people for being there? Shame on them. I have never seen such insensitivity, defensive blabber and pure idiocy. Let’s hope this is the end of MSV and this contest (with or without Jeff Clark) for good. And let’s hope Katherine Clark can move on and find her own life, where she can quietly kick people while they’re down, out of the media spotlight. Shame on these people. If they wanted the post-contest focus to be on the surfers, they could have simply expressed sympathy for what happened and not screamed at us that we are bad because we aren’t focusing on the athletes but instead on a “joykill.” They are perpetuating the drama by being so insensitive.

  5. Carol says:

    Absolutely 100% on target! The MSV personnel directed us down to the beach and there was a huge sign on the road up to the cliff that there were no views in that direction. And once you were on the beach the only way out was through the area hit by the surge. It is idiotic to blame the invitees – a response I have no doubt is being scripted by MSV lawyers.

  6. sandra says:

    God love you for posting this. My thoughts exactly. Jeff Clark is a legend and I am so happy that he has nothing to do with this. I cant help but think that the ocean was showing its displeasure with the corporate take over of mavericks. Thank God no one was killed.

  7. Neil says:

    Another Hear, Hear. I feel badly for the folks who FOLLOWED THE CORPORATE DIRECTIONS and were hurt by the “rogue wave”. (note: a rogue wave is an act of God without the ability to be forseen; situating the spectators where “tidal surges” normally happen and being forewarned by a local surfer then establishes liability and negligence).

    That ain’t no rogue wave when the tidal wall itself has a huge warning sign on it.

    I hope Jeff comes back and saves the Mavericks by doing what it was always to be — a local surfer who calls his buddies with ‘surfs up’ and the community shows up to share in how amazing mother nature is.