For The Titans Of Mavericks To Run The Women Have To Be Included

“Six women. One hour. $30,000 on the line. 2016-2017 women’s heat.”

At present that’s all we know about Cartel Management’s commitment to include women in the 2016/17 Titans of Mavericks contest. Announced on Wednesday via social media, it appears six women will be surfing a speciality heat at Mavs this winter. Cartel Chief Operating Officer Brian Waters confirmed the news with the Half Moon Bay Review, but declined to elaborate further.

But sometimes it’s what’s not said that’s most revealing. In two weeks Cartel goes in front of the California Coastal Commission to hopefully secure their permit for this year’s contest. The issue of including women in the contest at Mavericks has been brewing for some time and came to a head last year. Now it appears the life of the contest depends on it.

“I'm still a little concerned about the fact that there is no clear plan for highlighting, involving, or encouraging the growth of women in this event or in this sport,” noted Coastal Commissioner Mark Vargas at a meeting in November 2015. “I understand that were too close to the event this year, but if this is going to be contemplated as an extension (permit extension) that could possibly have four more years of extension we should start contemplating a plan for encouragement and inclusion of women in this event. So that we (Coastal Commission) can review it, and have that information available for next year when this permit comes back up for renewal. I appreciate that it's a one-time, one-year permit but Mavericks has been going on for a long time and Mavericks will continue to go on.  I'm sure we'll be back here next year and it would be unfortunate if we don't start planning for the inclusion of women and to see more women involved in this program, and not wait until a year from now."  

To which we say, let the ladies charge.

“I’d like to see if I can make an amending motion to add a specific condition that we ask the applicant to provide a plan for encouraging equal opportunity for women surfers in future events,” continued Vargas.

His motion, inspired largely by the diligent work of San Mateo County Harbor Commissioner and Mavericks surfer Sabrina Brenna, passed with a 7-4 vote. Now it’s time to turn the vote into action.

The pressure was further ratcheted up last month when a group founded by big-wave surfers Bianca Valenti, Keala Kennelly, Paige Alms and Andrea Moller calling themselves the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing submitted a request to the Coastal Commission seeking women’s inclusion in the upcoming contest. With the opening ceremony slated for this weekend and the waiting period kicking off on Nov. 1, Cartel appears to have been backed into a corner.

This news comes on the heels of a bad week for Cartel in which a lawsuit was filed against them for, among other things, cyber-bullying. It’s also been learned that Matt Ambrose has parted ways with the Committee 5, the governing body of the Mavericks contest, due to a difference of opinions with Cartel Management.

If there’s one take away from all of this it’s that things are never dull in Half Moon Bay.