The Operators Of The Titans Of Mavericks Are Being Sued For Cyber Bullying

For as frigid as the Northern California ocean can be, organisers of the annual Mavericks big-wave contest are in hot water.

Filed in San Mateo County Superior Court last week, a new lawsuit is going after Cartel Management, operators of the Titans of Mavericks event, for false impersonation, defamation, and cyber bullying. 

The suit was filed on behalf of Half Moon Bay resident John Ullom, who is seeking $250,000 in punitive damages from Cartel Management, Titans of Mavericks, and Cartel bosses Griffin Guess and Brian Waters. According to court documents, the suit alleges Cartel created a fake Gmail email address and Wordpress website “exclusively to impersonate and intimidate Mr Ullom and to serve as retaliation for insuring that Cartel followed the law in the permitting process for the Mavericks contest.” 

“Numerous untrue, derogatory, and defamatory statements were made about Mr Ullom’s character. Included in these untrue statements was a false charge of a misdemeanour conviction in Contra Costa County. The actions of Cartel clearly violated several sections of California’s Penal Code, and the defamation charge violated CA Civil Code,” reads a press release announcing the suit. 

Mavs had its best day last year but the Titans event was unable to run due to the Super Bowl. Video: Chris Papaleo/Salty Beards

The investigation into the matter involves the tracing of a Gmail account that was purportedly sending emails from an IP address in office space used by Cartel.  

“When the account holder for the Gmail account was sent an email observing that the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney had been notified both accounts were deleted within 40 minutes,” continues the press statement. “Law enforcement was able to track the termination of the Gmail account to a private residence in Capitola. Law enforcement conducted several in-person interviews and confirmed that the family living at the residence had a relationship with Cartel Principal Griffin Guess, and the family acknowledged that Brian Waters, Cartel’s Chief Operations Officer had previously been a guest at their home.” 

This isn’t the first time Cartel has found themselves simmering in scandal. Last year former sponsor Body Glove filed suit against them for breach of contract. Former Mavericks champ Grant “Twiggy” Baker was banned from the event for speaking his mind, WSL Big Wave Tour Commissioner Peter Mel has also had issues with the group, and there are a number of other surfers and water safety personnel that have taken exception to the manor in which the Titans of Mavericks contest is run.

“Mr Ullom has been damaged by the cyber-bullying and retaliatory actions of the Cartel and Titans of Mavericks, and thus seeks compensatory damages as a result,” surmises the statement.