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