There are signs of trouble amid a fragile alliance of sponsors, promoters, surfers and other professionals working to build the Mavericks surf contest into a more profitable brand. In recent days, numerous complaints, bitter feuding and a new lawsuit have surfaced — all aimed against Cartel Management, the agency spearheading this year’s contest, now dubbed the “Titans of Mavericks.”

The Los Angeles-based Cartel first entered the world of big-wave surfing last June when it acquired the rights to host the Mavericks contest. For months, the purchase was largely celebrated by local organizers and professional surfers who saw the company as a solid partner to bring a new level of refinement and money to the event.

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Did a little research on my own and found absolutely no record or history that Cartel Management has any experience in running any event let alone one of this magnitude. Here is what I did find. This link points to a public document which I found easily on Google thanks to the help of Mr. Ullom's post.

The link is a detailed court document detailing Cartel's owner failed business past. Machete, Threat Inc, Cartel Inc. These are all names associated with the new owners of the Mavericks event?!?

I'm concerned that Jeff Clark and the Mavericks Board would allow the event to fall in to the hands of another questionable entity after his last debacle with Mavericks Surf Ventures.

Because they (Cartel) chased away the current sponsors the event won't happen this year which is a shame. Hopefully our County and local reps can get to the bottom of this before it turns into another mess. Mavericks is such a beautiful destination and we don't need mismanagement by the Mavericks Board or Cartel Management to place another black mark on our coast.

John Charles Ullom

The permit issued by the Harbor District has two primary requirements.

1) All fees to be paid prior to Jan 1st, 2015.

2) Proof of insurance for the event prior to Jan 1st, 2015.

As to item 1. Zoe Lee of Cartel Management signed the permit on Jan 14 and sent a check to the tune of 11,600.00 dollars for the fees. Two weeks after the opening of the contest window. Cassandra Clark of Mavericks Invitational Inc. singed the permit on Jan 21. Scott Grindy of the San Mateo Harbor District signed it the next day. Three weeks after the opening of the contest window. Scroll to page four and see for yourself:

As to item 2. The insurance for the event was purchased on Jan 27, 2015. Four weeks after the opening of the event window. Here is the proof:

The event has been horribly mismanaged. If the mother of all swells had shown up prior to Jan 27, there still would not have been a contest. Are the C5 going to blame this on Rocky Raynor and some photographers?

Or maybe, cash flow problems. Griffin Guess was supposed to have all kinds of connections. He was going to get more Apple and less Nor Cal Surf. He was going pay for all of the costs incurred by any Titan who showed up. He was going to get them all a ton of money and the respect that they know they deserve.

If you go to the Titans of Mavericks website, you will see that it lists exactly four sponsors / partners. The Boys and Girls Club of America just signed on. Red Bull is the living streaming partner. Monterey Aquarium is the Conservation partner. A Clif Bar is the official sponsor of a 5000.00 dollar prize for the best barrel ride or some such.

Red Bull was a live stream partner prior to Cartel Management. Maybe the Aquarium is pumping in some money but the BAGC, I doubt it. Clif Bar seems to have some presence so they might be a big time sponsor. Hard to say.

One more thing that does not bode well. There is a contact form on the Titans of Mavericks website. Companies that might want to sponsor the event are told to use it. The contact form was broken for over three weeks. I sent Zoe Lee an email over a week ago explain what was broken. It was a simple fix and they fixed it last night.

I suppose the Committee 5 could blame that on the Greedy 4 too.


@Committee 5 posting, I read the link on FB that the Committee 5 posted here. I'm assuming that they are part of Cartel? One of your post reads that "We are the community"?!? That's interesting because 5 people that make up the committee, two live in Pacifica, one in Santa Cruz and one in El Granada. That is hardly a representation of the HMB Community. (Sorry not sure where the the 5th one lives)

Cartel should quit being so arrogant and should stop trying to place blame on anybody but themselves. Read these comments. There are some real issues. "The community" is concerned.


What's a bit worrisome is that half way through the contest waiting period Cartel and whoever decided to ditch the festival. This is the disconnect between somebody trying to have an event on the coast doesn't realize is that its hard enough trying to get from one end of this town to the other on any given weekend. God forbid if there was an emergency not related to the contest on that day and emergency vehicles couldn't get through. Cartel may have acquired a permit to hold an event but that doesn't mean life stops for the rest of us.

I think they need to force them to have a place for people to converge instead of abandoning the community to the traffic mayhem that will ensue. I read that instead of a festival they were going to send everybody to the local restaurants. That's great idea but after they reach their capacity of a few hundred folks where does the rest of the thousands go? Having a bunch of people roaming the streets looking for something to do never ends up great.

I thought the community was part of this event. What happened?

Committee 5


Tyler Durden

"....For some reason, the Editorial Board at the HMB Review does not want Griffin Guess discussed. I have posted info on him at three times here and it has been deleted each time...."

No mystery. The Review (and its editorial board) is owned by a corporation. On this point, see my previous comment below.

John Charles Ullom

Can anybody explain why The Boys and Girls Club fails to acknolage the support from and partnership with Cartel Management?

They were given 10 grand but if you check out the BAGC website, no mention of Titans, Mavericks, Griffin Guess, or Cartel Management.

Why not?

John Charles Ullom

For some reason, the Editorial Board at the HMB Review does not want Griffin Guess discussed. I have posted info on him at three times here and it has been deleted each time.

Here is a link what has been found so far:

Next up. The sad story of a Rich Daddy, a boy named GG, a few hundred thousand dollars for a media start up, broken agreements, a Daddy who loses trust in is son, closed bank accounts, cancelled credit cards, unpaid vendors, and lots of work for lawyers.

Let us see if this one offends the Editorial Board of the Review as badly as my words have tweaked CTS and SV2C

August West

Ok "theGodMother"

Glad you set us straight.

If a bunch of guys want to go out and surf to see who wins, best of luck to each.

You want to take some pictures? Video? Have at it.

You want to tie up traffic? Keep someone off the bluffs? Impact the lives of residents in any way shape or form? No deal. You can literally just stop thinking about it because it will NOT HAPPEN ANYMORE.

Take your "respect" back from whence you came. You never were.


Should we expect anything less from a firm called "Cartel Management"?


An entire article using sources that are no longer involved in the contest due to disagreements doesn't seem to be valid or even a respectable piece of journalism. So, a few angry people are mouthing off because they are no longer involved. If all businesses had to sway with public opinion based on malcontents, the tech world would be a ghost town. The contest is about the athletes and their challenge of the great wave, and there's not a single athlete or person still involved quoted in the article, just unhappy people who were ousted. That's funny. But the most astonishing part of this article is the fact that a local charity - the Boys & Girls Club - received a $10,000 donation, and the guy criticizes it while still taking the donation. There is no way I would ever support that "charitable" organization.


This was always a local scene, which included benefitting various non-profits and allowing locals to watch the contest live. Hiring outsiders (which is what Cartel is - no question) is making a deal with the devil. Though more funding for the contest is great, who really benefits? To ban photographers from shooting, that Cartel wants full ownership of all images - even just temporarily - is anathema to the photographers whose images are a their art and reputation. "Hillbillies" we may be, but the contest used to be an exciting local event which, though free to view live, profited non-profits through local vendors, as well. Now it has become just another money-making operation, one with myriad restrictions for locals, benefitting just another cold corporation.


Reading JCU's rant at first sounds something like mine, until I thought about it. John just might be onto something here.

Rescinding any permits would be a good start. That would tell those that have screwed up such a wonderful competition for so long that they'r out. If that means the Harbor District is the lead Agency, then so be it.

Next, the harbor District could work with the City of HMB with the goal of having the annual contest and doing it right.

If they can and are willing to take it on, there would be a shared cost - equally shared. And just as the costs are equally shared, so would be any revenues. The City has a Community Development Director who could coordinate with a Harbor rep. Were I the Community Director, I'd certainly want to bring the Boys & Girls Club onboard to help. They could play a significant role in set-up and break-down of the event.

Local venders, like the Brewery or Sam's for example, could sell their wares at the event. They could give a percentage of their sales to prize money, lessening the cost to the two Agencies (maybe even covering the costs altogether).

The premier and primary goal would be the competition ... not who's the boss or how much any one individual can make. Personal recognition would only be offered the competitors, as it should be.

JCU, you might just be onto something. People will come, as we've seen year in and year out; and why wouldn't they? It is a spectacular event, one that is very rare and unique to our coastline.

It would be a bit of a stretch for both Agencies as they are not used to this type of activity, but it could and can easily be done - which would wipe out all those greedy sticky little fingers and egos.

Well worth the thought and discussion, I think.

John Charles Ullom

Sad is the right word.

The day that surfers decided they needed the Sheriff to close off access to the bluffs, the beach, and the waves so as to score a buck was when we all should have seen this coming. Now the waves are owned by some dude named Griffen Guess.

Something beautiful, unique, and treasured by some has been ruined.

We as a community can stop it. The Harbor District should rescind the permit at the earliest legal opportunity. Then the community should tell everybody who thinks they own those waves that those waves are OURS.

Then we as a community should run the damn event. We as a community can easily webcast the video. We have people with the boats and the expertise and the love for those waves who will provide the platforms from which to video the event. Add a couple of drones.

Then WE as a community can sell the webcast and use the money as a community.

Who owns those waves? Jeff Clark? Griffen Guess? I SAY NO!

We own those waves.

Tyler Durden

"...And the corporate snakes coming in to feed
On that pathetic fact known as human greed..."

August West

George, you knew the answer to your rhetorical question was greed...

Sad to see these people making such a mess of it.


How can such a simple thing continually get so screwed up?

Screw the money and all those that want a piece of it. Have the contest without all the BS.

Let them surf! Let those that can enjoy the event and just drop the greed. It's been going on for way too long.

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