Oct 4, 2018

ESPN - Alyssa Roenigk

Equal ocean, equal waves, equal pay

"I was prepared for the WSL to pull out of Mavericks completely [for 2018]. I think everybody was expecting that," she said. "So I was shocked when they announced equal pay across the board. It's going to boost the women and be so great for future generations. It legitimizes women's surfing. I think the big-wave women were instrumental in making that happen."

Valenti says she believes the big-wave surfers were also best suited to take on this fight -- and not only because they participate in a sport defined by a willingness to explore the outer limits of possibility. "As a group, we don't make much money. Most of the men and women on our tour work two, three, four jobs to support our surfing," she said. "In a sense, we had nothing to lose."

"We feel strongly that if it hadn't been for our consistent advocacy, the WSL would not have made that announcement," said Sabrina Brennan, a San Mateo County Harbor Commissioner and co-founder of the Committee for Equity in Women's Surfing (CEWS), an advocacy group that includes big-wave surfers Paige Alms, Keala Kennelly, Andrea Moller and Bianca Valenti, as well as Karen Tynan, an attorney who represents the women pro bono. "But we are so glad they did, and we're thankful because they could have done less and announced equal pay only at Mavericks. But they did the right thing and did it across all of their events."

Sept 13, 2018

Outside Magizine - Kim Cross

Equal Prize Money Is Great—But Only Half the Story

“Every time I drive by one of those ginormous sports stadiums, I’ve always thought about how much public funding goes into them,” Brennan says. “So now we’re looking at what can this do for other sports?”

Sept 12, 2018

The Inertia -  Dylan Heyden

Did Maverick’s Force the WSL to Pony Up an Estimated $1.4 Million for Pay Equality?

CEWS wrote in a July 9 letter to Renee Ananda of the California Coastal Commission insisting that attempts to pay women anything less than equal prize money at big wave surf contests constituted “gender-based discrimination,” and was therefore against the law. The letter implored the Commission to make equal pay a stipulation for event permitting at Maverick’s.

According to Sabrina Brennan, San Mateo County Harbor Commissioner and CEWS member, it was this letter and the fallout from it that led the WSL to schedule a July 23rd meeting in Redwood City. During the meeting between representatives from CEWS including Brennan, Karen Tynan (CEWS’ attorney), Bianca Valenti, and Paige Alms, and WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt, Graham Stapelberg, WSL attorney Dylan Budd, WSL Deputy Commissioner and Director of Athlete Development Jessi Miley-Dyer, BWT commissioner Mike Parsons, and others, executives of the World Surf League were emphatic that prize parity would not be feasible at Maverick’s this year.

“When we got to the hardest part of the discussion, which was about equal pay, they just completely shut down,” Brennan said in a phone interview. “They said things like, ‘We don’t negotiate with outside groups.’ And, ‘If we did this at Maverick’s then there’d be the expectation that we’d do it across all categories.’ And we were like, ‘That’s exactly what we want…’ Then they were like, ‘Absolutely not. There’s no money.'”

Sept 10, 2018

KPIX5 - by Katie Nielsen

Female Big-Wave Surfers Celebrate Prize Money Equity Plan

Sept 7, 2018

KTVU - by Cristina Rendon

Women granted equity in surf competition prizes, including Mavericks

Sept 6, 2018

CAL Matters - by Laurel Rosenhall

California just forced equal pay for female surfers. Could that change other games?

“We believe there ought to be gender equity with respect to the purposes of any use of our state lands,” Betty Yee said in an interview.

Gavin Newsom also supported the requirement, said his chief of staff Rhys Williams: “A lease application that doesn’t reflect equal pay isn’t going to fly with him.”

The Mavericks case could set a precedent for local governments to demand equal pay in any sporting event held on public property, said David Berri, a professor of economics at Southern Utah University who researches gender in sports.

“In any event where you are going across public land, then any government entity could say ‘You have to make this equal,’” he said.

Sept 6, 2018

San Francisco Chronicle - by Bruce Jenkins

Finally, World Surf League offers equal prize money for women and men

Bianca Valenti said she was “in shock” when she heard the news, because women surfers had been so thoroughly stonewalled in their quest for equality. 

The CEWS is spearheaded by Valenti and Hawaiian surfers Keala Kennelly, Paige Alms and Andrea Moller, all of whom are expected to be in the Mavericks contest. The event’s previous owners, Cartel Management, balked at the notion of including women until finally agreeing last year to a six-woman heat that would accompany the men’s competition (poor conditions prevented the contest from being held). But Cartel arrogantly excluded Valenti from the entry list, and “I’ll never forget how my heart sank when Cartel retaliated against Bianca because she dared to speak at a Coastal Commission hearing,” said Sabrina Brennan, a San Mateo County Harbor District commissioner who has worked tirelessly for the cause. “Now we finally have what’s right. Those four women worked so hard and they weren’t backing down. They took the professional risk.”

sept 5, 2018

NBC Bay Area - Robert Handa

Pro Surfing League to Pay Women Competitors the Same as Men

San Mateo County Harbor Commissioner Sabrina Brennan, a fierce longtime advocate for equal pay for women surfers, said, “Bianca (Valenti), Paige (Alms), Keala (Kennelly) and Andrea (Moller) deserve credit for transforming and revolutionizing professional surfing. They took a risk supporting equal prize money. I’ll never forget how my heart sank when Cartel (Mavericks former organizer) retaliated against Bianca and demoted her to alternate because she dared to speak in support of including women in the Mavericks competition.”

“I’m glad the WSL is choosing to be on the right side of history,” said Bianca, adding, “Power to the people!”

Aug 30, 2018

Surfline - Marcus Sanders

Mavericks Challenge Faces Permitting Issues (Again)

“Not getting your permits in order, we’ve seen it before,” said Sabrina Brennan, a San Mateo County Harbor District commissioner. “That’s a recipe for not being able to hold the competition.”

Aug 29, 2018

STAB - Rory Parker

On The Path To Equality, Is The WSL Pitting Men and Women Against Each Other?

"I think [the WSL] has a tremendous opportunity to revolutionize the sport and it could have global implications."

—Sabrina Brennan, San Mateo County Harbor Commissioner

Aug 27, 2018

SURFER - Justin Housman

Mavericks Event May Demand Equal Pay For Women 

A group called The Committee for Equity in Women's Surfing, composed of some of the most well-known names in the big-wave surfing community, earlier this summer called on the California Coastal Commission to demand equal pay for women athletes before they granted any permits for the event. The State Lands Commission obviously heard that plea.

Aug 25, 2018

Soccer America - Paul Kennedy 

Hope Solo sues U.S. Soccer in Federal court over pay gap

Former U.S. women's national team goalkeeper Hope Solo has sued U.S. Soccer again, filing a complaint Friday for violation of the Equal Pay Act and discrimination in U.S. district court in Northern California.

Aug 24, 2018

Mercury News - Elliott Almond

Equal pay or no one plays? Big-wave women draw line in the sand at Mavericks

The State Lands Commission staff report attached to the agenda item supported the women’s cause, concluding “the waves do not discriminate.”

It continued saying that the commission staff “believes it is in the best interests of the state to require the event to implement certain measures to promote equity by requiring that the amount of compensation awarded to any participants does not depend on gender.”

The staff report cited the Public Trust Doctrine as the foundation for its conclusion, saying it requires the state to protect and manage its tide and submerged lands for the benefit of all Californians.

The government staffers rejected the World Surf League’s formula for pay equity that is based on the number of overall participants — 24 men and 10 women.

“Male athletes are surfing and competing on the same waves as the female athletes,” the report said. “So other than the participation evaluation process which is controlled solely by the Applicant, there doesn’t appear to be any reasonable justification to treat prize compensation differently for female athletes versus male athletes.”

The report asked the commissioners — State Controller Betty T. Yee, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and state finance director Michael Cohen — to include specific language in the lease that would ensure equitable treatment of the women surfers.

Bianca Valenti, the Bay Area’s leading female big-wave rider, praised the report in a text from Croatia.

“Lawmakers get it; they know that responsible use of our coastline and coastal access is a top priority for all Californians,” she wrote. “As a professional big-wave surfer I believe this recognition will help leverage progress towards achieving equality. When we share the ocean everyone has an opportunity to explore surfing, improve their performance, and earn equal pay in the water.”

Aug 3, 2018

Mercury News - Elliott Almond

Equal pay in big-wave waters: Mavericks women fight for same prize purse

This story ran in the Mercury News on Sat and the Santa Cruz Sentinel on Sun.

“Prize money equality is required. Prize money parity by ‘fuzzy math’ is not going to work for the women athletes.” —Karen Fuller Tynan, attorney representing the Committee for Equity in Women's Surfing

Aug 3, 1018

The Inertia -  Dylan Heyden

Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing Alleges Gender Discrimination in Letter to California Coastal Commission

In a July 9 letter obtained by The Inertia, the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing (CEWS), comprised of big wave surfers including Bianca Valenti, Keala Kennelly, and Paige Alms, explains that the existing formula the WSL uses to achieve what’s called purse parity is actually discriminatory. “Last month, the Puerto Escondido Cup first place winner, Bianca Valenti earned $1,750 while her counterpart in the men’s division took home $7,000,” the letter reads. “We’ve done the math. Valenti earned 75 percent less than her male counterpart surfing the same wave.”

Aug 3, 1018

The Inertia -  Alexander Haro

Maya Gabeira Accuses World Surf League of Ignoring Requests to Help Her Get In the Guinness Book of World Records

June 28, 2018

Sea Maven - Teddy Kahn

The Fundamental Flaw in the WSL's Equal Pay Policy

June 26, 2018

San Francisco Chronicle - Bruce Jenkins

San Francisco’s Bianca Valenti brings home title in big surf

“This is the best event that’s ever happened for women…Even better than the two events we had at Pe’ahi” Hawaii in 2016 and ’17. The women really stepped it up. The surfing level was so good, we didn’t have to change the criteria; we judged them equally as the men. The winner (Valenti) surfed well enough to have gotten through a men’s heat. This is a huge step in the right direction.”

—Gary Linden, WSL Big Wave Tour Organizer

“The risks are the same so why aren’t the prizes the same?  I think we deserve it.”

—Emily Erickson, Professional Surfer

“All the athletes, male and female crushed it and put on a great show. It was rad! The entire town was stoked, the men, the women, the boys, the girls, everyone!We’re all in this together. Women-up!”

—Bianca Valenti, Professional Surfer

“The chicks showed up and blowed up. So how about that equal pay?”

—Keala Kennelly, Professional Surfer

JUNE 26, 2018

SURFER - Ashtyn Douglas

Valenti Wins First-Ever Women's Big-Wave Contest on Latin America

JUNE 26, 2018

Surfline - Staff

Did We Just See The Heaviest Woman's Heat Ever?

Zicatela devotee Bianca Valenti found a bulbous righthand barrel for a double-9.0 before the Mexican Cinderella story, Isabelle Leonhardt, pig-dogged a colossal right for a double-9.5 — but her backup couldn’t hang, so Bianca won.

June 26, 2018

Surfer Today - Staff

Bianca Valenti claims the 2018 Puerto Escondido Cup

"I was in this mindset of like: 'I'm using so much energy.' And then I went: 'This is so fun. I love this; I live for this.' We're all in this together. Women up!" added the event winner.

"I was so freaking excited. Not having a hundred guys out, and taking any wave I want, I was like frothing. I am proud of all the girls. They were charging," said Keala Kennelly, who finished third.

Although not considered and listed as a specialty event by the World Surf League (WSL), the pro surfing organization supported the contest.

June 26, 2018

Sea Maven - Molly Lockwood

It's Not the Market, It's You

JUNE 5, 2018

Sea Maven - Molly Lockwood

5 Women Who Gave Zero F*cks

March 2018 

Stab Magizine

Is Women's Big Wave Surfing Stuck In The 1960's?

Jan 10, 2018

NPR Hear & Now - Robin Young

'We're Starting To See The Tides Change': Women To Compete In Mavericks Surf Contest For First Time

Jan 3, 2018

NBC Bay Area - Staff 

Mavericks Challenge Competition Window Officially Opens

Dec 15, 2017

San Mateo Daily Journal - Samantha Weigel

Mavericks contest gets 56 days

Similar to what was required of Cartel’s Titans of Mavericks, the Coastal Commission ordered the WSL include women surfers in a special heat for the first time at the local big wave break.

Hawaii’s Paige Alms, who was WSL’s 2016 Women’s Big Wave champion, is one of the chosen six who could compete at Mavericks in the coming weeks.

“Having the addition of the Mavericks event on the Big Wave Tour is a huge thing for the men and women,” Alms said in a press release. “Mavericks is a really perfect wave and one of the most powerful big waves in the world. With the inclusion of Mavericks as a part of the tour, I think fans will be seeing some of the best big waves ridden, hopefully the conditions are just all-time. We will see some of the best waves ridden there and also some of the most heavy wipeouts, people really like to push themselves over the ledge there.”

The six women chosen include Alms, Keala Kennelly, Justine Dupont, Bianca Valenti, Sarah Gerhardt and Emily Erickson. While pleased to finally have a chance to surf during a Mavericks competition, some of the women are urging an expansion in future years.

The Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing, CEWS, sent a letter to the Coastal Commission supporting the WSL receiving a single-year permit. Alms, Kennelly, Valenti, Andrea Moller as well as Harbor Commissioner Sabrina Brennan, are advocating for future competitions that include multiple heats for female surfers.

“We look forward to an event managed by people who support the evolution of women’s big wave surfing. We look forward to developing a strong relationship with the WSL that brings greater equity to the sport,” the CEWS wrote in a letter. “Starting in the 2018/2019 season, we believe that women athletes should be provided with an opportunity to compete in a multi-heat women’s division at Mavericks. It will be good for women, for the [Mavericks’] legacy, and it will ensure fair and equal access to coastal waters.”

Dec 15, 2017

Artwork by Dr. Mary Larenas of Moss Beach, CA


Dec 14, 2017

Santa Cruz Sentinel - Julie Jag

Mavericks surf contest opens Jan. 3 under new owners

For the first time, women will get to compete at Maverick’s. The Mavericks Challenge will consist of one six-woman heat and include Santa Cruz big wave pioneer Sarah Gerhardt. Jamilah Star of Santa Cruz is an alternate.

“This will be a fantastic moment for women’s big wave surfing,” Mike Parsons, the commissioner of the WSL’s Big Wave Tour, said in a statement. “The best female big wave surfers will get to showcase their skills on the heaviest wave on the West Coast.”

Dec 14, 2017

Mercury News - Elliott Almond

Big-wave surf contest — now the Mavericks Challenge — will return to Half Moon Bay

This year’s contest will include a one-heat women’s competition for the first time. But Sabrina Brennan of the San Mateo Harbor District commission asked the Coastal Commission not issue a Coastal Development permit beyond this season unless World Surf League officials include a multi-heat women’s division.

“Going forward it is my hope that all Harbor District special use permits and event permits will prioritize gender equity as an enforceable requirement,” Brennan wrote in a letter to the commissioners this week.

Dec 14, 2017

The Inertia - Juan Hernandez  

WSL Gets CA Coastal Commission Approval to Run Maverick’s Challenge, Including 6-Person Women’s Contest

“The darkness,” Keala Kennelly told The Inertia when asked what makes Maverick’s so unique when compared to other notable big waves, “…when you wipe out at Maverick’s and get pushed deep underwater it’s black like midnight and absolutely terrifying. I’d never experienced anything like that.”

Alms and Kennelly will be joined by Justine Dupont, Bianca Valenti, Sarah Gerhardt, and Emi Erickson, with Jamilah Star, Andrea Moller, and Wrenna Delgado listed as event alternates. Dupont, Valenti, and Moller were also competitors in October’s Pe’ahi Challenge.

Dec 14, 2017

San Francisco Chronicle - Bruce Jenkins

Mavericks surf contest gets the go-ahead

The most significant development in the ownership change will be the inclusion of women. For the first time in contest history, a six-woman heat will be staged on contest day, featuring Bianca Valenti of San Francisco, Sarah Gerhardt of Santa Cruz, Justine Dupont of France and Hawaii’s Paige Alms, Keala Kennelly and Emily Erickson.

This comes as good news to Sabrina Brennan, a San Mateo County Harbor Commissioner who has lobbied tirelessly on behalf of the women surfers and charged the Cartel group with “sexist, discriminatory behavior” in restricting the event to men. The next step, Brennan said, will be to “make a multiheat women’s division a requirement for the 2018-19 event and the future.”

Dec 13, 2017

On December 13, 2017, Karen Fuller Tynan represented the Committee for Equity in Women's Surfing at the Coastal Commission hearing held at the Ocean Institue near Dana Point Harbor.

Coastal Commission hearing video.

Thank you Karen.png

Dec 13, 2017

Half Moon Bay Review - Carina Woudenberg

Coastal Commission grants surf league permit

Attorney Karen Fuller Tynan spoke at Wednesday’s meeting on behalf of the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing.

Tynan stated that she was relieved that the Commission only went forward with a one-year permit at the November 2016 meeting.

“Otherwise the permit would have ended up in bankruptcy court,” Tynan said.

Nov 9, 2017

The Atlantic - Design Chris Edser, Animation //kneeon, Producer Kristina Sorge and Nicolas Pollock

'Revolutionary' Big Wave Surfing

Professional surfer Bianca Valenti reveals how women big wave surfers are changing the tides. 

Nov 2, 2017

Great Big Story

Making Her Own Waves: The Woman Revolutionizing Big Wave Surfing

Bianca Valenti is a San Francisco-based professional surfer who rides some of the world's biggest waves. Instead of wearing a string bikini on a white sand beach, she dons a wetsuit, a hood and protective gear to take on some of the world’s deadliest swells. When she first took on Mavericks—notoriously difficult surf just south of San Francisco—she almost drowned. But that experience, coupled with her drive to overcome sexist stereotypes about female surfers, only motivated Valenti to become a better surfer. The results, as you can see, have paid off.

Nov 1, 2017

Surfer -  Ashtyn Douglas

PAIGE ALMS: ‘IT’S A PRETTY INTERESTING TIME IN OUR SPORT’ — The 2017 Women's Pe'ahi Challenge Winner on Her Jaws Victory And The Future Of Women's Big-Wave Surfing

It's a pretty interesting time in our sport. We went from having absolutely no events and having to fight to be at the Maverick’s event to the WSL last year asking us to be a part of it. Now we have four events this year [2 WSL sanctioned events, plus an event at Waimea and another at Nelscott Reef], and that growth is pretty monumental. We were out at dinner last night and Sachi [Cunningham, big-wave photographer] said to me, “Isn't it going to be cool when we look back in a few years and we'll say, ‘Remember when there were only 6 girls invited to the Jaws contest?’"

When you win something here, you feel like you win it for everyone else on the island, since it’s such a small island and a small surf community.

Oct 28, 2017

Surfer -  by Surfer

Ian Walsh and Paige Alms Win The Pe'ahi Challenge: The Valley Isle Dominates as Walsh Takes His First Title, Alms Takes Her Second

Oct 28, 2017

Grind TV - Gabriela Aoun

Paige Alms wins 2017-18 Women’s Big Wave Tour Pe’ahi Challenge

Finals Results:

Paige Alms 21.23
Keala Kennelly 17.21
Justine Dupont 14.36
Bianca Valenti 10.86
Andrea Moller 6.41
Felicity Palmateer 4.54

Oct 26, 2017

WSL Press Release - Anna Dimond 

Women of Big Wave Set to Tackle Pe'ahi for Second Time

Surfline— The Pe’ahi Challenge has been green lit to run from Friday through Saturday, with peak wave heights potentially hitting the 40 to 50-foot range, courtesy of a storm brewing in the Pacific’s northwest corner. As of now, the apex of the swell is projected to unload upon Jaws on Friday afternoon, and continue into Saturday morning.

Oct 11, 2017

Mercury News - Elliott Almond

Mavericks surf contest a go for this season — if waves cooperate: World Surf League officials announce that women will compete at Half Moon Bay event for first time

“You have to be really patience in the water and out of the water with these events,” said big-wave star Bianca Valenti of San Francisco.

Four contests — counting ones in Oregon, in northern Spain and Hawaii that are not part of the Big Wave Tour — are holding competitions for women this season.

“It’s the first year that we have somewhat a full season,” Valenti said. “We’re going to see an explosion of talent on the women’s side.”

Women were hoping to make their debut this year before the previous organizer Griffin Guess of Titans of Mavericks and Cartel Management canceled the event because of financial issues.

Oct 11, 2017

San Mateo Daily Journal - Austin Walsh

Mavericks deal sets stage for surf show—World Surf League gets county Harbor District permit, plans winter competition

This marks the latest in a series of operational transitions drawing the praise of those who’ve long advocated for more equal participation opportunities.

“It’s about damn time,” said Sabrina Brennan, a member of the San Mateo County Harbor District Board of Commissioners and staunch supporter of women’s surfing.

Oct 10, 2017

The Daily Telegraph - Amanda Lulham

Women will compete in Big Wave tour event at Mavericks alongside men

“Anything that gives women in surfing more opportunity is great,’’ said Felicity Palmateer, who holds the Australian women’s record for riding a 25 foot wave at Cow Bombie in Western Australia,

“This is so good, really exciting and has been a long time coming, This is just epic. For women to be surfing at Mavericks is incredible.’’

Oct 10, 2017

Surfer - Matthew B. Shaw

Mavericks Officially Added To WSL Tour

Oct 9, 2017

Santa Cruz Sentinel - Julie Jag

Mavericks officially joins World Surf League’s Big Wave Tour

The women’s purse is $30,000 — an average of $5,000 per contestant — while the men’s purse will be $100,000, an average of $4,166 per surfer. About half the contestants will be those who have qualified to compete on the Big Wave Tour. The rest will be selected by a committee of Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz locals helmed by Big Wave Tour Commissioner Mike Parsons.

Oct 9, 2017

Grind TV - Ryan Brower 

WSL adds Mavericks big-wave surf contest to Big Wave Tour schedule

Oct 9, 2017

WSL Press Release

It's Official: Mavericks Will Join 2017/2018 Big Wave Tour

"We're very pleased with this opportunity to work with the big wave community in bringing the Mavericks event to life on the international stage," Sophie Goldschmidt, WSL CEO, said. "The League has always held a high amount of respect for the both venue and its community as one of the pillars of big wave surfing. The WSL intends to continue to run the Mavericks event and celebrate the stories of those who steward and surf it through the Big Wave Tour. This is a huge moment for both the organization and the sport of surfing."

Both men and women big wave surfers will have the opportunity to compete this upcoming season at Mavericks.

Sept 21, 2017

Santa Cruz Sentinel - Julie Jag

Mavericks surf contest permit sale to WSL further clouded by harbor commission

Sabrina Brennan, one of the commissioners who has been the most outspoken about the permitting process, said she hopes the WSL will move forward with its plans.

“I support the event happening this season and I think it’s great that there’s an organization with experience that’s stepped forward that wants to put on an event so athletes can compete,” she said at the meeting. “I support that whole-heartedly, but I still don’t support this permit, which I feel was poorly written. ... So, I can’t vote to support a permit I never supported. I can’t do that. I feel that a multi-season permit is big mistake.”

Sept 20, 2017

Sept. 20, 2017 Harbor Commission meeting video

Agenda Item 5: 
Cartel Managment Sale of Assets to World Surf League

“We actually drank Cartel's Kool-Aid, we were fighting for them...” -Jeff Clark

Sept 19, 2017

San Mateo Daily Journal - Samantha Weigel

Judge approves Mavericks sale—Harbor District to consider supporting World Surf League

Harbor Commissioner Sabrina Brennan, who has advocated for women to be included in the contest, said she’s thrilled WSL is on track to host a surf competition.

“It’s been a long time coming and I think a change in management is long overdue,” Brennan said. “From everything I’ve heard, the WSL is completely committed to running an event and last I checked they were on course for lining up permits.”

Brennan said she just wants to see female athletes compete as the contest window nears opening.

“I hope everyone will be supportive and try to do everything in their power to make it a successful event,” Brennan said. “We’re just really thrilled that it looks like it’s around the corner.”

Sept 15, 2017

Santa Cruz Sentinel - Julie Jag

Titans of Mavericks sale to World Surf League approved by bankruptcy judge

Sept 15, 2017

NBC Bay Area - Robert Handa

Mavericks May Not Be Wiped Out After All

Harbor Commissioner Sabrina Brennan acknowledged more legal hurdles lie ahead but considered the possibility of WSL running the contest a huge step forward.

She pointed out the WSL is led by a woman CEO and, unlike Mavericks, allows female competitors.

"I'm relieved the Cartel bankruptcy is behind us," Brennan said, "it will be exhilarating and satisfying to see women athletes compete for the first time in the Mavericks big wave competition."

Sept 7, 2017

Monterey Herald - Julie Jag

Mavericks sale to World Surf League hits a snag

Sept 6, 2017

NBC Bay Area - Robert Handa

Deal to Sell Mavericks Surf Contest at a Stalemate

According to court papers filed Wednesday, Segler Holdings LLC, a Texas company, objected to the sale, saying it is not in the best interest of the bankruptcy estate.

The new legal twist will not only complicate ownership of the contest but also will resurrect a hotly disputed issue when the harbor district issued a 5-year permit to Cartel instead of a standard one-year deal, which some board members, including Commissioner Sabrina Brennan, said caused the legal turmoil.

Aug 29, 2017

The Inertia - Op-Ed by Keala Kennelly, Professional Surfer

Keala Kennelly’s Thank You Letter for the ‘F*ck You Billabong…’ Hysteria

Aug 25, 2017

San Mateo Daily Journal - Samantha Weigel

World Surf League strikes Mavericks deal

Harbor District Commissioner Sabrina Brennan, who’s advocated on behalf of the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing, said she’s pleased the WSL may bolster their efforts.

“I support women being included in the event and clearly the WSL has a proven track record of including women in the Big Wave World Tour,” Brennan said. “I hope that everyone on the [Harbor District] board is supportive of what’s in the best interest of the athletes, the fans and San Mateo County.”

Aug 24, 2017

Mercury News - Elliot Almond

Mavericks surf contest sold; will there be an event this winter? 

Some welcomed the Big Wave Tour’s takeover that will give the surfers a platform to showcase their talent. The contest would be particularly meaningful for six women invitees competing at the fearsome wave for the first time. Women were included last year before Cartel canceled the tournament because of financial struggles.

“The WSL has a track record of inclusion of women so it makes me feel good,” Harbor commissioner Sabrina Brennan said. “It’s a start.”

News of the sale was bittersweet for Jeff Clark, who remains frustrated over losing control of his event to Cartel. But the famed surfer is “stoked it’s the WSL,” he said Thursday.

“It’s going to be a good event,” added Clark, who hopes to be involved with WSL organizers. “I’m sad to see Cartel get away with what they did. They’ve gotten away with it for now but they will get their due.”

Aug 24, 2017

Wall Street Journal - Katy Stech

World Surf League to Take Over Titans of Mavericks Contest

Under the proposed deal, World Surf League wouldn’t buy the Titans of Mavericks trademark or the social media accounts used to promote the event, though it could refer to past contests and use some of the published content without paying royalty money.

The trademark’s ownership would remain with Mr. Guess, who said his company and related affiliates spent more than $3 million developing and marketing the Titans of Mavericks brand. Mr. Guess, in turn, has promised not to use the Titans of Mavericks brand when naming future surfing contests.

“The event and brand I created generated a global audience for the event unlike anything before and I look forward to the WSL and their leadership continuing the success of the athletes, the event and the Mavericks community at large,” Mr. Guess said in an unpublished press release that was filed in court.

The contest organizer filed for chapter 11 protection on Jan. 31, facing more than $1.5 million in debt. Its lawyers said that the event “faced operating difficulties arising from delayed sponsor payments, political complications, costly litigation and the need to maintain their necessary permits.”

The contest’s revenue came from sponsorship deals with Red Bull, Clif Bar, Fox Sports and Pandora Internet Radio, along with proceeds accruing from branded clothing, hats, posters and stickers, court papers said.

Aug 24, 2017

Stab Magazine - Jake Howard

Is Mavericks About To Join The Big Wave World Tour?  WSL gets 'Titans of Mavericks' permit for half price. 

Aug 24, 2017

The Inertia - Chase Scheinbaum

World Surf League Wants to Purchase Mavericks Contest Permit for $525,000

“The WSL demonstrated their commitment to women athletes when Paige Alms became the first-ever Pe’ahi Challenge women’s champion. The Harbor Commission has an opportunity to support Mavericks becoming part of the Big Wave Tour,” says Sabrina Brennan, one of the harbor commissioners.

Aug 24, 2017

NBC Bay Area - Robert Handa

Mavericks Surf Contest May Resurface In Possible Deal With World Surfing League

Aug 24, 2017

Mercury News - Julie Jag

Mavericks surf contest permit could be sold to WSL

Cartel Management, Inc., on Wednesday sought approval from a bankruptcy court to sell some of its assets to the WSL.

According to documents filed with the United States Bankruptcy Court Central District’s Los Angeles Division and obtained by the Sentinel, “The Purchased Assets specifically include, without limitation, the Special Use Permit Number 2016-01 (5-Year term: 2016/2017 through 2020/2021) issued by the San Mateo County Harbor District.”

The sale of the five-year permit would be contingent on the harbor district approving the sale and the transfer of the permit at its Sept. 20 meeting. The permit serves as the cornerstone among more than a dozen permits needed to host the contest at the big-wave break near Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay.

Aug 14, 2017

Santa Cruz Waves - Aloe Driscoll 

Faces of Surf: Julie Cox

In addition to a successful career as a professional surfer, Julie Cox has an impressive track record as an entrepreneur: her most recent endeavor is Traveler Surf & Swim Club, which offers a warm haven from the cold waters of Pacifica.

Aug 13, 2017

Red Bull Surf Video

Watch world's bravest surfers going huge in Puerto Escondido

Video features Bianca Valenti surfing Puerto Escondido

July 29, 2017

Surfline - Devyn Bisson

10 Female Surf Filmmakers You Should Know

July 27, 2017

LA Times - David Carrillo Peñaloza

 Courtney Conlogue to contend at U.S. Open of Surfing

July 21, 2017

Orange County Register - Corky Carroll

Bethany Hamilton a great addition to Surfers Hall of Fame

“Good work by the Surfers Hall of Fame in inducting Bethany Hamilton this year.”

July 19, 2017

The Inertia - Chase Scheinbaum

Sophie Goldschmidt Appointed CEO of WSL; Pro Surfing Becomes One of Few Sports Leagues Run By a Woman

July 19, 2017


WSL Announces Sophie Goldschmidt as New CEO — Sports marketing veteran to take over from interim CEO Dirk Ziff in August

With this role, Sophie Goldschmidt becomes one of the few female executives to lead a global sports league for both male and female professional athletes. She’ll move from London to Santa Monica and start in August.

June 14, 2017

Half Moon Bay Review - Carina Woudenberg

WSL puts in offer for Mavericks

“We are very interested in working with the community and the community leaders to hold a 2017/2018 event,” said Jonathan Marshall, chief operating officer for the WSL, on Friday. “We are exploring whatever opportunities exist and we will only do this as a partner with the community.”

June 14, 2017

Stab Magazine - Jake Howard

The WSL Makes A Play To Take Over The Mavericks Event

The WSL confirmed to Stab that an offer was made after Cartel cancelled a planned auction of their assets scheduled for June 1 and before a June 7 court hearing and was declined.

June 14, 2017

SURFER - Matthew B. Shaw

Titans of Mavericks off the market, planned auction of big-wave contest's assets canceled indefinitely  

Cartel has blamed Mavericks Invitational officials (Jeff Clark, Cassandra Clark, & Brian Overfelt) and the San Mateo Harbor District for scaring away bidders.

June 14, 2017

Mercury News - Elliott Almond

Debt-riddled Mavericks contest draws interest from World Surf League — Cartel rejected WSL offer that came after a June 1 auction scheduled for June 1 was canceled

“If there is an opportunity for the WSL to acquire those assets we will,” Dave Prodan said. “If they opt to sell those assets to another party, the WLS will reach out to another party to see if a partnership could be formed. If there is not a deal to be made with Cartel, the WSL will still pursue any other available avenues with regards to obtaining the correct permits to run an event.”

June 3, 2017

San Mateo Daily Journal - Samantha Weigel

Surf contest pulled from auction: Cartel postpones Mavericks sale, remains in bankruptcy

“I think they’re playing the blame game and this is probably embarrassing for them, that they didn’t have a bunch of people lining up to fork over $1 million and they’re blaming people for it,” Brennan said.

Ultimately, Brennan said she just wants to see a suitable group run Mavericks, particularly as for the first time women must be included in the contest.

June 2, 2017

GrindTV - Margaret Steelie

A guide to surfing in the Bay Area

JUNE 2, 2017

Santa Cruz Sentinel - Michael Todd

No auction held for Mavericks contest owners, surf competition unlikely next season

“It’s one thing when it’s mother nature. It’s another thing when it’s mismanagement,” Brennan said.

“The sooner this gets resolved, the better,” Brennan said. “This is putting the main event in jeopardy. There were good surf days last season where they could have called the event. I’m very hopeful that a well-organized group will surface.”

JUNE 1, 2017

Surfline - Marcus Sanders

Cancelled: No Bidders at Maverick's Event Auction

As Jeff Clark told Surfline, “it’s gonna be kind of a mess right now.”

This is mostly due to the many permits required to run the event. Harbor commissioner Sabrina Brennan told NBC Bay Area “she had no confidence Cartel will salvage the situation, saying, ‘This is a strategic retreat, because no one bid on what appears to be a worthless asset.’”

The asset in question is the main permit for the event. According to Clark and Brian Overfelt, who, along with Clark’s wife Cassandra make up Maverick’s Invitational, the permit was never really the Titans’ to sell. They both assert that Cartel Management — the Titans’ parent company — illegally got the Maverick’s Invitational name dropped from the permit. And, they both claim the permit was never transferable in the first place. (Hence Brennan’s “worthless asset” comment above.)

Griffin Guess, Titans’ CEO, meanwhile, asserts both that, “I don't think [Brennan] is qualified whatsoever to evaluate our organization,” and that, “The permit is clearly in Cartel's name.”

As you’d imagine, all of this will translate to more lawyers and public meetings and local political infighting — which has sadly been a part of this event since the beginning. As of press time, it’s all still pretty unclear as to what's going to happen next.

June 1, 2017

Wall Street Journal - Jonathan Randles

Mavericks Surf Contest Organizers Call Off Bankruptcy Auction

The Harbor Commission raised objections to the auction, asking for time to review any potential purchaser.

Ms. Brennan said she hoped the bankruptcy gets resolved quickly so whoever runs the Mavericks event in the future has enough time to organize the contest for the upcoming season.

June 1, 2017

San Jose Mercury News - Elliot Almond

Brakes pumped on public sale of Mavericks surf contest

The Harbor District filed an objection to the auction process with the court because officials want to make sure whoever takes control of the event can meet the permit’s financial and safety conditions.

“The Harbor District is supposed to be the lead agency for the event,” said Brennan, the commissioner most outspoken about contest issues. “I don’t think we’ve lived up to that responsibility.”

Brennan said the commission didn’t properly vet Cartel before issuing the permit and needs to streamline a system for issuing permission to hold the event.

June 1, 2017

SFGATE - Michelle Robertson

Mavericks surf contest auction cancelled due to no bidders

June 1, 2017

Stab Magazine - Jake Howard

So Apparently, Now You Can’t Buy The Mavericks' Comp

If there’s one thing that’s more predictable than an afternoon west wind in Northern California it’s that the Titans of Mavericks and Cartel Management will continue to upstage their own absurdity.

MAY 31, 2017

NBC Bay Area - Robert Handa

Mavericks Organizer Cancels Auction, Citing No Bidders

Cartel Managment said there were no actual bidders, despite what they initially called widespread interest.

Harbor Commissioner Sabrina Brennan said she had no confidence Cartel will salvage the situation, saying, “This is a strategic retreat because no one bid on what appears to be a worthless asset.”

MAY 25, 2017

NBC Bay Area - Robert Handa

More Legal Maneuvering in Mavericks Surf Saga

"We're concerned whoever obtains the permit is capable of running the event and has the financial resources to pull it off, “Brennan said. "We're worried about public safety and the safety of the athletes.”

“We also believe Cartel is misleading potential buyers by listing some permits, including one from the Coastal Commission, which have expired.”

Brennan added there is still some question on whether Cartel legally has the rights to the harbor district permit since the district board never saw the final permit, which attorneys representing Cartel and the district changed without board approval.

MAY 12, 2017

Law Street - Jillian Sequeira

Surf Equity: Titans of Mavericks and Beyond

“Brennan went to work presenting the case that the competition was excluding women.”

MAY 12, 2017

San Mateo Daily Journal - Samantha Weigel

Federal court throws Mavericks up for auction: Harbor District surf contest permit can be offered in Cartel’s bankruptcy 

“The permit is not assignable without consent of the Harbor District,” Brennan said, adding bidders should realize “when you hand over $1 million, you might get a permit but it has Cartel’s name on it, not your own. ...There’s going to be a lot of work to be done. It’s just simply not for sale.”

MAY 12, 2017

Mercury News - Elliott Almond

Who will win contentious bidding war over Mavericks surf contest?

MAY 9, 2017

Wall Street Journal - Stephanie Gleason

Premier Surfing Contest About to Hit Auction Block—Sport’s leading athletes urge that a more professional owner take over the Titans of Mavericks

MAY 9, 2017

Silicon Valley Business Journal - Jody Meacham

Harbor Commission calls foul on Mavericks surf contest auction plan

The San Mateo County Harbor Commission has spent an estimated $200,000 in legal fees because of the Mavericks bankruptcy, which wiped out last winter’s big-wave surf contest.

MAY 9, 2017

San Mateo Daily Journal - Samantha Weigel

Mavericks looks to auction assets: Renowned surf competition in limbo as Los Angeles company files bankruptcy

“It doesn’t appear to be in the district’s best interest, or the best interest of the public and the athletes to allow an unfit individual, organization or company to purchase the Harbor District permit,” Brennan said. “It would be very speculative on anybody’s part to spend $1 million for literally nothing tangible.”

Brennan, who noted she didn’t vote to give Cartel a multi-season permit, said the district unwittingly created an asset. She said the Coastal Commission thankfully also has a role in deciding who leads the contest. But in the meantime, due to Cartel being at the discretion of bankruptcy court, the permits and assets have been frozen.

“It’s a very difficult situation because as much as I want a great organization to show up and run the event professionally for the athletes and fans and for the community, we’re just sort of in limbo,” she said.

MAY 8, 2017

Pacifica Tribune - Dayla Soul

Brennan carves path for women’s surf—‘Her call for equity has stoked the flames of myopic tribalism in the surf community and local politics’

MAY 8, 2017

2017 WSL Big Wave Awards - Dayla Soul & Jody Banks

MAY 8, 2017

Los Angeles Times - Dan Weikel

Mavericks big wave contest plans to auction business assets amid bankruptcy proceedings

“That is the sad state of affairs at this time,” Brennan said.

MAY 8, 2017

Stab Magazine - Jake Howard

"Substantially" You Can Purchase The Titans Of Mavs Assets For $1 Mil

MAY 7, 2017

Sound Cloud - Sabrina Brennan

Cartel Bankruptcy Hearing: March 8, 2017

MAY 6, 2017

Los Angeles Times - Dan Weikel

Coastal Commission is on a shoestring budget, and Trump won't make it any better

“The budget has been a challenge ever since I arrived at the commission in early 1989,” said Jack Ainsworth, the agency’s executive director. “We have wanted to provide good service to our constituents, but we haven’t always been able to do that. It’s been frustrating.”

MAY 6, 2017

BBC News - Joanna Jolly

Fighting for equality in big-wave surfing

Brennan's presentation argued that if a permit was given as things stood, women would be excluded from coastal access, and the commissioners agreed, demanding that the organisers of Titans of Mavericks should come back within a year with a plan to include women.

MAY 6, 2017

The Inertia - Chase Scheinbaum

Got $1 Million? The Mavericks Big Wave Contest Permit May Go Up for Auction Next Month

MAY 5, 2017

Santa Cruz Sentinel - Jim Seimas

Big Wave Surfing: Cartel Management Inc. to auction off assets

MARCH 15, 2017

Half Moon Bay Review - Kaitlyn Bartley

Meet Coastside’s young ocean guardian

MARCH 7, 2017

Los Angeles Times - Steve Lopez

Why the new Coastal Commission chief is a good bet to defend California's beaches

MARCH 3, 2017

SF Gate - Peter Fimrite

SF Supervisor Aaron Peskin named to California Coastal Commission

March 3, 2017

NBC Bay Area - Robert Handa

New Legal Issue Pits Titans of Mavericks Organizers Against Its Main Sponsor

March 3, 2017

BBC World Service Outlook - Audio Interview

Surfing at Mavericks: 'The waves can lift boulders'

February 21, 2017

Silicon Valley Business Journal - Jody Meacham

Former Mavericks partners quarrel over surf event's permit

February 16, 2017

Silicon Valley Business Journal - Jody Meacham

Dude, what happened to Mavericks? Inside the crest and crash of an epic contest

February 4, 2017

NBC Bay Area - Robert Handa

The Cartel's Griffin Guess files bankruptcy & wipes out Mavericks

Bianca Valenti, Grant Washburn, and Sabrina Brennan talk with Robert Handa on NBC Bay Area.

February 4, 2017

KRON 4 - Gabe Slate

The Cartel's Griffin Guess wipes out Mavericks surf contest

Sabrina Brennan talks with Gabe Slate on KRON 4.

February 3, 2017

New York Times - John Clark, Sports Columnist 

Mavericks, a Premier Surfing Event, Is Canceled Amid Financial Woes

February 1, 2017

San Francisco Chronicle - Bruce Jenkins, Sports Columnist  

Frustrated Mavericks surfers long for simpler times

February 1, 2017

Los Angeles Times - Dan Weikel

Bankruptcy filings threaten to wipe out this season's Mavericks surfing contest

FEBRUARY 1, 2017

Half Moon Bay Review - Carina Woudenberg

Mavericks owners file bankruptcy

FEBRUARY 1, 2017

Silicon Valley Business Journal - Jody Meacham

Mavericks wipes out; can it recover?

January 31, 2017

NBC Bay Area - Robert Handa

Mavericks Surf Contest Organizers File For Bankruptcy

JANUARY 26, 2017

Mercury News - Sports

Big-wave bliss: Mavericks didn’t need a contest to show its teeth

JANUARY 18, 2017

Stab Magazine - Jake Howard

Stormy, With A Chance Of Lawsuit!


San Francisco Chronicle - Bruce Jenkins, Sports Columnist

Big-wave breakthrough: Female surfer leads Mavericks revolution


San Francisco Chronicle - Bruce Jenkins, Sports Columnist

First wave: The women chosen to surf Mavericks


San Francisco Chronicle - Bruce Jenkins, Sports Columnist

How ‘Outer Bar Babes’ are transforming big-wave surfing


San Francisco Chronicle - Bruce Jenkins, Sports Columnist

Tales of courage among female big-wave surfers

DECEMBER 15, 2016

Peninsula Press - Jane Nevins, Stanford Journalism Program

Women to make history surfing big-wave contest, but struggles for equality remain

“For women to have the same opportunities, to be a big-wave surfer and make a living at it, you have to have the opportunities to compete in contests, to have your photo taken to get sponsors,” said Jennifer Savage, policy director for the environmental activist network Surfrider.

Sarah Gerhardt watched friends struggling to make a living surfing without sponsors because they didn’t have a certain look. So, Gerhardt decided not to surf professionally, and instead, focused on her teaching career. She is a tenured professor and chair of the chemistry department at Monterey Peninsula College.

Women will have the opportunity to compete this year largely because of one woman’s crusade. Sabrina Brennan, the San Mateo County Harbor Commissioner, fought for a separate women’s heat at Mavericks.

Video Produced by Jane Nevins, interview on Nov. 30, 2016

DECEMBER 8, 2016

Boston Globe - Shira Springer

9 women’s sports stories from 2016 worth another look

The 2016-17 event will include a one-hour heat for six female surfers with $30,000 in prize money at stake. That’s a big breakthrough. Almost as big as the three- and four-story waves you’ll find at Mavericks. And it happened because female surfers lobbied the California Coastal Commission, which made female inclusion a condition of its permit. Clearly, you shouldn’t mess with fearless women who surf the biggest waves.

DECEMBER 1, 2016

The Inertia - Kendra A. Gardner

Why Women Are Striving (and Charging) for Equality in More Ways than One

December 1, 2016

Adventure Sports - Haven Livingston

Big Wave Women—Female talent in the spotlight at Pe‘ahi Challenge and Titans of Mavericks

NOVEMBER 30, 2016

The Inertia - Chase Scheinbaum

Defamation Lawsuit Against Titans of Mavericks Organizers Withdrawn

NOVEMBER 28, 2016

The Inertia - Janice Greenwood

Opinion: Women May Be Actually Out-Competing Men at Jaws

November 23, 2016

NPR Morning Edition - Staff

Women Take On Big-Wave Surfing, Once The Domain Of Men, At Mavericks

November 19, 2016

Santa Cruz Sentinel - Haven Livingston, Just Add Water

Work has just begun for female big wave surfers

The Pe’ahi event made women’s history, as recognized by media outlets across the globe, and female athletes got a taste of what big wave contests could be in the future.

“The Jaws event was a good example to see how well it went,” said Moller, a professional waterwoman. 

Moller didn’t qualify past the semifinal at Pe’ahi, but appreciated the chance to move on. She said a single-heat contest like Titans isn’t really a contest.

“It’s more exciting and makes an emotional connection for the viewers if they get to see someone carry on to the finals,” she said. “The Mavericks contest may want to think about creating that emotion too.”

NOVEMBER 13, 2016

ESPN W -  Alyssa Roenigk

What's it like to surf Maui's big-wave break Jaws in an all-women contest?

Keala Kennelly: Paige did such an amazing job and sent it. She went out there and earned her victory and carried it for the women. But Paige is a true sportswoman and she was bummed I wasn't in the final. We love and respect each other, and Paige definitely wants me out there. But she is so deserving. Paige let people know that we deserve to be there.

NOVEMBER 11, 2016

Surfer - Justin Housman

Surfer, Save Thyself

On Tuesday Cori Schumacher, three-time women’s longboard world champ and vocal surf community gadfly/activist, won a seat on the Carlsbad City Council, a coastal town in North San Diego County. Carlsbad is a politically conservative ‘burb, and Schumacher, an outspoken LBGT activist, was a surprise victor, buoyed in part by her prominent role in opposing Measure A, a plan to develop a chunk of Carlsbad’s coastal zone. I called her after election day to find out why she’d run, what she hoped to accomplish, and to ask what surfers can do when confronted with uncomfortable political realities.

NOVEMBER 11, 2016

The Associated Press

Women break glass ceiling in surf competition

“It’s the least we can do to speak to the election the other day,” Valenti told The Associated Press in a phone interview before the competition, referring to Hillary Clinton’s defeat by President-elect Donald Trump.

“I watched Hillary’s concession speech and what she was saying - how important it was for women to really stand up now more than ever to break the glass ceiling - and that really resonated a lot,” Valenti added.

“This is really about paving the way for the future generations and creating opportunities for them,” Valenti said. “Just the importance of using our voice all the time and speaking up for what we want.”

NOVEMBER 11, 2016

The Inertia - Jennifer Savage, California Policy Manager, Surfrider Foundation

Heal Your Election Woes By Embracing Women, Diversity, and the Environment

The thing about being an activist, is the “active” part – sooner or later despair propels you to action.

NOVEMBER 6, 2016

NPR Weekend Edition Sunday - Lauren Frayer

Gaza's Surfer Girl Hangs Up Her Board — And Not By Choice

"Once I paddle out past the breakers — I forget my troubles," says Ali Erheem, 25, a member of an informal group that calls themselves the Gaza Surf Club. "It's pure happiness."

"I wish I could go back to being a child," she says. "That's when I felt most free — surfing."

She says doesn't want to grow up. She dreams of teaching other girls to surf. But she acknowledges that's probably impossible, since she'll soon be a wife, moving into her mother-in-law's house — still in Gaza, but inland.

NOVEMBER 5, 2016

Los Angeles Times - Dan Weikel

Let women compete, Coastal Commission orders famous surf contest at Mavericks

“This is a great step forward for our sport, women’s athletics and women. You know, it’s about human rights,” said Bianca Valenti, a top female big-wave rider and co-founder of the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing.

Supporters who lobbied the commission to add women included representatives from the Surfrider Foundation, the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing, the Coastal Protection Network, the Brown Girl Surf organization and San Mateo County Harbor Commissioner Sabrina Brennan.

NOVEMBER 4, 2016

Jason Lock - Magic Seaweed

Bianca Valenti Should Be A Titans of Mavericks

Keala Kennelly, who told magicseaweed: ''I'm stoked to be included in the six women Titans, however it really doesn't feel right that Bianca Valenti was excluded. She has put more work into this than anyone and she is out there surfing Mavericks every swell. They have her down as first alternate, however, I would be cool with them adding a 7th woman to this historical women's heat as long as that woman is Bianca.''

NOVEMBER 4, 2016

Half Moon Bay Review - Carina Woudenberg

Coastal Commission grants 1-year permit for Mavericks

“I think the excitement (among the organizers) is simply for the media,” said attorney Karen Tynan who has been working pro bono with women big-wave surfers. “There's a lack of real genuine inclusiveness.”

Tynan also cited a recent Los Angeles jury verdict against Cartel Management that she says will leave the company liable to pay $1 million to Segler Holdings, LLC for breaching a contract and failing to provide promotional services.

Tynan expressed concern that the organizers might not have the financial resources to continue to make the contest available to women.

NOVEMBER 4, 2016

Daily Journal - Samantha Weigel

Women guaranteed spot at Mavericks: Coastal Commission approves permit for surf competition with contingencies

Alms, Kennelly, Moller and Valenti had urged the commission to require women be included after collaborating to form the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing.

These four women, as well as Gerhardt, also took top honors during a women-focused surf day at Mavericks in December 2014 known as the WickrX Super Sessions.

Sabrina Brennan, a San Mateo County Harbor District commissioner who has advocated for women’s inclusion, said she and others were extremely disappointed local surfer Valenti was not chosen and believes more women should be included. Brennan said she’s pleased that the Coastal Commission, as well as the female athletes, retained leverage as Titans was only provided a one-year permit.

“It’s a foot in the door,” Brennan said. “When the permit’s being reviewed, it gives them some leverage to try and negotiate more equitable terms and a bigger footprint on the event.”

NOVEMBER 3, 2016

Beach Grit - Rory Parker

Titans of Mavericks Female Blunder—Cartel drags feet, pays price... 

‘Well, you know, they need to pump more iron.’ That’s from Jeff Clark. ‘The girls aren’t good enough yet.’

NOVEMBER 2, 2016

San Francisco Chronicle - Bruce Jenkins

Mavericks permit extended 1 year, women added to contest

Bianca Valenti had no issue with the six women selected; they are all friends. But she suspected that as the organizer of the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing, a women’s group that often has clashed with Cartel personnel, politics may have been involved.

“Someone had to take one for the team,” said Valenti, managing a smile, as the hearing concluded. “It’s a blatant diss. It’s Cartel; I think they’re intimidated by a group that looks out for women athletes.

November 2, 2016

Half Moon Bay Review - Clay Lambert

Does public benefit from longer Mavericks contract?

Ask yourselves: How does the public benefit from granting one organization four more years of exclusive rights to make money off of a California jewel?

November 1, 2016

The Inertia - Jennifer Savage, California Policy Manager, Surfrider Foundation

CA Coastal Commission Wed. Meeting Could Shape Future of Titans of Mavs

The move toward more inclusivity heartens us, but one heat, begrudgingly given, does not a gender gap close. The Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing calls for more, now. And in line with our dedication to access for all, Surfrider Foundation supports this proposal.

OCTOBER 30, 2016

San Francisco Examiner - Brendan Bartholomew

Mavericks surf contest adds women’s division

While the Coastal Commission generally addresses land use and environmental issues, spokesperson Noaki Schwartz said it is not unprecedented for her agency to require equal access to facilities and events.

“The [California] Coastal Act mandates that the commission maximize public access,” Schwartz said. “So the inclusion of women at an invitation-only surf competition on public land certainly helps fulfill that mandate.”

Brennan has criticized Cartel for not moving more quickly, and believes the event should include multiple women’s heats. A woman should also join the five-person selection committee that decides which athletes are invited to the prestigious competition, she said.

But Cartel spokesperson Brian Waters said award-winning surfer Sarah Gerhardt had previously been offered a spot on the Titans of Mavericks selection committee, but had declined due to other obligations.

“We’re not fighting here; there’s no pushing back,” Waters said, though he added that adding multiple women’s heats might not be feasible.

Each Titans of Mavericks competition depends on the presence of big, challenging waves. Organizers have a window from Nov. 1 through the end of March to look at wave and weather conditions and select a date for the event, Waters explained.

On that chosen day, there are only so many hours and waves available, Waters said.

“It is impossible to put three more heats in a day,” Waters said. “Within an hour, you might get eight to 10 contestable waves.”

The lack of equal representation in events like Titans of Mavericks has taken an economic toll, Brennan said, because being deprived of the spotlight means even the best female surfers struggle to obtain prize money and endorsement deals.

OCTOBER 28, 2016

New York Times - John Clarke

For First Time in 17 Years, Women Will Compete in Top Big-Wave Surfing Contest

Sabrina Brennan, who heads the San Mateo County Harbor Commission, which manages the Mavericks surf area, helped in the fight to include women — which at times grew tense.

“Organizers would show up at meetings with their attorneys and just stare at you with a menacing look,” said Brennan, who is also a member of the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing. “It was intimidating.”

She also said some event organizers had told several female surfers to get their own Mavericks event.

Still, Brennan said she was pleased with the outcome.

“It’s about time,” she said. “It feels like it shouldn’t have taken this long. And I wonder why it’s taken so long. It’s exciting and thrilling. But we’re not there yet. Women athletes have to keep asking for what they want.”

OCTOBER 28, 2016

New York Times - Mike McPhate

Female Surfers Tear Down a Big Wave Barrier

Ultimately, it took the state to force the change at Titans of Mavericks, which was known in its early years as the “Men Who Ride Mountains” contest.

The decision by Cartel Management, the company that owns the tournament, followed a campaign over the last year by a small group of female surfers along with Sabrina Brennan, a San Mateo County harbor commissioner.

Organized under the banner “Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing,” the surfers pressured California’s Coastal Commission into demanding that Mavericks add a women’s heat or risk losing its permit to hold the event.

The campaign worked.

OCTOBER 28, 2016

Huffington Post - Carla Herreria

Female Surfers Tear Down a Big Wave Barrier

Ultimately, it took the state to force the change at Titans of Mavericks, which was known in its early years as the “Men Who Ride Mountains” contest.

The decision by Cartel Management, the company that owns the tournament, followed a campaign over the last year by a small group of female surfers along with Sabrina Brennan, a San Mateo County harbor commissioner.

Organized under the banner “Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing,” the surfers pressured California’s Coastal Commission into demanding that Mavericks add a women’s heat or risk losing its permit to hold the event.

The campaign worked. 

OCTOBER 23, 2016

Deadspin - Lindsey Adler

Mavericks Surf Contest Begrudgingly Allows Women To Compete

For the first time in its history, one of the most prestigious surf contests in the country will include a women’s heat in its 2016-17 competition. But the addition to the Titans of Mavericks competition wasn’t done solely because Mavericks organizers felt like it. It was required by the California Coastal Commission as a condition of the competition receiving a renewed permit—and that happened because of lobbying to the commission by female surfers.

OCTOBER 22, 2016

Mercury News & Santa Cruz Sentinel - Julie Jag

Titans of Mavericks had to add women’s heat to clear barrier to permit

A California Coastal Commission report released Friday afternoon said its staff recommendation would have been to deny contest organizer Cartel Management its permit if Cartel did not include a women’s heat in its plans for the 2016-17 contest.

Within its request to the CCC, Cartel laid out its plans for the contest, which included no women’s heat until the 2017-18 season.

On Wednesday, Cartel announced it would hold a one-hour, six-woman contest with a $30,000 prize purse within the main event this season. 

“It’s quite simply the right time,” Cartel CEO Brian Waters said Wednesday. “There was no compelling driver other than it was the time to do it.”

OCTOBER 21, 2016

KQED - Kelly O'Mara

Mavericks Surfing Contest Will Include Women for First Time

“There was no hint that anything like this was brewing,” said Sabrina Brennan, who serves on the San Mateo Harbor Commission and who first brought the issue to the attention of the Coastal Commission.

“I wasn’t expecting this,” Valenti told Surfer Mag. “But I think it’s awesome. I’m just excited to see the women’s side of the sport strengthen. It felt weird always asking for them to let us women in. So it feels great knowing they know want us to be apart of this rad big-wave community.”

Sabrina Brennan said some of the event’s organizers would like to hold a roundtable discussion with the women and are considering the possibility of a two-day format, weather permitting.

She also said there are still some issues to be worked out.

“I’d like to see something in writing,” she said. So far the news has only been mentioned on social media.

The female surfers have also requested a woman sit on the selection committee.

OCTOBER 21, 2016

NBC Bay Area - Rebecca Greenway & Christie Smith

Mavericks Will Include Women Surfers for First Time in History

Harbor Commissioner Sabrina Brennan has made the issue of women's inclusion in the sporting competition one of the major issues in her reelection and says she has been an advocate for change throughout her term.

OCTOBER 21, 2016

SFGate - Kristin Hanes

Women to ride big waves in 'Titans of Mavericks' competition for the first time

Big wave surfer Bianca Valentino, who helped found a group called, "Committee for Equity in Woman's Surfing" said she's thrilled.

"I was really pleasantly surprised. I wasn't expecting it, so I'm really happy to see progress," she said. "We're celebrating that things are starting to happen, with this, with the election. It's bringing attention to important issues like opportunity and equity for women in America and in the world."

Sabrina Brennan, a San Mateo County Harbor District Commissioner, has been fighting for female inclusion in the competition. She's cautiously optimistic.

"It's great they want to include women, but the women asked for a multi-heat event, which is what the men have. They should have a multi-heat event, and the same amount of prize money. Those issues haven't been addressed in this one-hour heat, but maybe it's a good starting point."

OCTOBER 21, 2016

Santa Cruz Sentinel - Brooke Wright

Titans of Mavericks looking forward to big waves, women’s heat

“I’m excited to see the community grow,” said Bianca Valenti, a big wave surfer from San Francisco who showed up for the paddle out. “The guys have always been supportive in the water, so it’s nice to see them supporting us on the competitive side, too.”

“It’s incredible that there’s a women’s heat, but it’s a little bittersweet because my sister [Savannah] is my surfing partner and she got a big injury last year,” Pat Shaughnessy said. “I’m really excited for the girls, I just wish my sister was in it.”

OCTOBER 21, 2016

KION - Maya Holmes

Titans of Mavericks will include women—First year for female surfers

"Having that exposure and getting women out there I think it will really be encouraging for a lot of young girls,” said surfer Damon Franz. “To all the women competing, good luck."

OCTOBER 20, 2016

Stab Mag - Jake Howard

For the Titans Of Mavericks to Run the Women Have to be Included

“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 Mark Vargas.

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

OCTOBER 20, 2016

San Mateo Daily Journal - Samantha Weigel

Six women to compete for own Mavericks title: Big wave surf competition to host first women’s division

Coastside resident and activist Sabrina Brennan, a local harbor commissioner who’s advocated for women’s inclusion and is working with the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing, said she’s thrilled to see this first step.

“This is just really fantastic news and nice that it’s happening the same year that we are hopefully going to be electing our first woman president. I think it’s a really important year for women and I’m glad to see their recognition and they’re making a significant step forward toward the inclusion of women and I hope that grows,” Brennan said.

Brennan noted many of the group’s requests — such as having women involved in the selection process, providing more than just a one-heat women’s division and an equal purse prize — still stand.

“My hope is that the event evolves,” Brennan said. “There needs to be real equity.”

OCTOBER 20, 2016

The Mercury News - Julie Jag

Women to surf at Titans of Mavericks

“I’m pretty excited about what’s going on, especially since Friday I was pretty pissed off,” said Sabrina Brennan, who has been a driving force for the inclusion of women in the competition.

Brennan, a San Mateo County Harbor District Commissioner, made her initial push for inclusion when she appeared before the California Coastal Commission during its local meeting in 2015. She asked the CCC to make including women in the contest a requirement for obtaining the commission’s permit. The commission voted to adopt the requirement for future permits. 

Brennan said Wednesday’s announcement is good news. Still, she noted that the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing — the group founded by pro surfers Bianca Valenti, Keala Kennelly, Paige Alms and Andrea Moller — will continue to push for equal treatment.

“It is great news. I’m very excited about it,” Brennan said. “I think having the dialogue is very important.”

“Whoever holds the permit needs to run a professional event,” she added, “and that means including equity for women.”

OCTOBER 19, 2016

Surfer - Ashtyn Douglas

Women's Heat to be Held at Titans of Mavericks

“To me, this is a lesson showing that if you want something, you’ve got to speak up,” says Bianca Valenti.

Keala Kennelly, who’s been on the big-wave scene for over about a decade, is equally excited about the new inclusion. “I’m stoked,” says Kennelly. “I think this is a big win for women’s surfing, women’s sports, and women in general. WSL came to the party last year when they announced a Women’s Big Wave World Tour Championships for 2017 at Jaws or Todos. La Vaca Gigante by Oakley [a big-wave event in Spain] announced they will have a women’s heat with equal prize money to the men. The Titans are a little late to the party, but I say better late than never!”

OCTOBER 19, 2016

Half Moon Bay Review - Staff 

Mavericks organizers agree to include women this year—Plans are sketchy, suggest 6 women in single heat

Details of the decision are sketchy. As of 1 p.m. Wednesday, the only written notice that there would be women in the 2016-17 event came in the way of social media postings that read, “Six women. One hour. $30,000 on the line. 2016-2017 women’s heat.” Cartel Chief Operating Officer Brian Waters confirmed that women would participate in this season’s contest but declined to provide any details.

OCTOBER 19, 2016

Half Moon Bay Review - Carina Woudenberg

Half Moon Bay resident files lawsuit against Cartel

OCTOBER 19, 2016

Half Moon Bay Review - Carina Woudenberg

Mavericks plans women’s heat in 2017-18

Bianca Valenti said she saw the move to add a women's heat as a step in the right direction.

“I think that it's positive, obviously. I don't see any reson why they shouldn't do it this year, ” said Valenti.

Sabrina Brennan described the proposal as “half-baked” and expressed concern that if not enough women met the criteria, there wouldn’t be a women’s heat.

OCTOBER 17, 2016

Stab Mag - Jake Howard

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

October 17, 2016

The Inertia - Chase Scheinbaum

Scandal-Plagued Organizers of Titans of Mavericks Sued for Defamation by Community Activist

OCTOBER 16, 2016

The Inertia - Alexander Haro

Titans of Mavericks Event Submits Plans to Hold Women’s Heats

October 15, 2016

Santa Cruz Sentinel - Staff Writer

Big Wave Surfing: Cartel submits plans for women’s heat in 2017-18

OCTOBER 11, 2016

Santa Cruz Sentinel - Julie Jag

Big wave surfing: Titans of Mavericks may be required to hold women’s heats

OCTOBER 4, 2016

The Inertia - Chase Scheinbaum 

World’s Top Female Surfers Infuriated by Titans of Mavericks Invite List

SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

NBC Bay Area - Rebecca Greenway

A League of Their Own: Women's Involvement at Mavericks Among Harbor Commission Topics

While incumbent Sabrina Brennan said the Harbor District is extremely expensive, she said she was able to play a part in paying back its incurred debt over her last term. She also spoke about her efforts on the development of volleyball courts and involvement of women at the Mavericks.

The topic of inclusion of women into Mavericks competitions has been an ongoing one on the peninsula's coast side.

Just this week, four women who would like to compete in the Titans of Mavericks submitted a request to the California Coastal Commission for a league of their own. 

SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

The Inertia - Chase Scheinbaum

Female Big Wave Surfers Fight for their Own Division in Titans of Mavericks

SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

Half Moon Bay Review - Carina Woudenberg

Women surfers submit request to ride Mavericks

SEPTEMBER 21, 2016

Surfer Magazine - Ashtyn Douglas

Double Life

On land, Paige Alms may seem like an average 28-year-old, juggling jobs to make ends meet. But in the water, she’s anything but ordinary.

AUGUST 4, 2016

Surfline - photos: Sachi Cunningham & words: Justin Housman

Women Who Ride Mountains

Through grit, determination, and smiles, these women have carved out a respected place in the city’s surf hierarchy, surely one of the country’s most demanding. 

AUGUST 3, 2016

Surfline - Pablo Zanocchi

It's Official: Surfing Will Be in the Olympics

Wednesday, August 3rd, the International Olympic Committee voted in favor of including surfing in the Tokyo Games. So in 2020, 20 men and 20 women surfers will compete for an Olympic gold medal.

JULY 25, 2016

Surfline - Kurt Steinmetz

Coco Ho Wins Paul Mitchell Supergirl Pro

This article is the first of its kind on Surfline. It features women, not just one woman, which they have done, but this article covers a whole women's league. The guys get this kind of coverage often. An overview of the women's league is not normally presented on Surfline. 

Aimee spends a significant amount of time on the Surfline website when she's not in the water...

JUNE 14, 2016

KQED Arts -  Rachael Myrow

‘The Wave I Ride’ Seeks Gender Equality for Women Big Wave Riders

NOVEMBER 6, 2016

JUNE 2, 2016

It Ain't Pretty - Documentary Film, Directed by Dayla Soul

“Why is the media still so fixated on sexualization of female surfers?  It Ain't Pretty attempts to shatter stereotypes by painting a new athletic portrait for the generations of surfer girls to come.”  —Shannon Reporting

“My wife Aimee Luthringer and my mom Lee Fernandez are very excited that my advocacy work to include women athletes in the Mavericks Surf Contest is included in Dayla Soul's documentary. The film is about the bravery and athleticism of women surfers. Can't wait to see the premier of It Ain't Pretty on Thursday, June 2, 2016 at DocFest.”  —Sabrina Brennan

MAY 11, 2016

SFDocFest - Dayla Soul

Premier of IT AIN’T PRETTY—screening at the Historic Great Star Theater

MAY 11, 2016

HuffPost - Carla Herreria

These Women Want To Be Known As Surfers, Not Sex Symbols

MAY 6, 2016

Magic Seaweed - Jason Lock

Women's Big Wave Event Could Benefit Entire Surf Industry

APRIL 28, 2016

The Inertia - Beth O'Rourke

Women’s Big Wave Surfing and the 2016 XXL Awards: Exploring How Far We’ve Come?

APRIL 15, 2016

Surfer - Ashtyn Douglas

WSL Adds Women's Event to Big Wave Tour

APRIL 15, 2016

Big Wave Tour Adds Women's and Qualifying Events

WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP—$30,000 prize purse; Contested by athletes picked by the commissioner's office
Window: October 15, 2016 - February 28, 2017
Events: Pe'ahi, Todos Santos

APRIL 15, 2016

ABC - Michael Atkin and Andy Burns

Female pro surfers want industry to get on board regarding sexism concerns

MARCH 28, 2016

The Inertia - Paige Alms

Paige Alms Believes Female Big Wave Surfers Deserve Their Own Venues

“The whole drama over the Titans of Mavericks contest is just outrageous. They (the organizers) are still trying to say women are not as good as the men, trying to fight the issue rather than help make a solution…when in fact they are missing the whole point.”

“We are not asking to be included with the men; We want to have our own heat!”

—Paige Alms

MARCH 23, 2016

The Inertia - Juan Hernandez

2016 XXL Awards Nominees Announced: Keala Kennelly Makes Surfing History

MARCH 14, 2016

LA Times - Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil

Female surfers make waves despite barriers

MARCH 10, 2016

The Inertia - Alexandria Bordas

Big-Wave Surfing Is Bigger Than Ever; Where Are the Women?

FEB 28, 2016

The surfer not considered hot enough for sponsorship - BBC News, Editor & Director: Owain Rich, Camera: Chris West

FEB 19, 2016

WSL News - Anna Dimond

Andrea Moller: Let's Join the Big-Wave Party

FEB 16, 2016

Huffington Post - J.D. Kleinke

Not Yet, Surfragette: Women Athletes Still Sidelined At Big-Wave Competition

FEB 12, 2016

Outside Magazine - Op-Ed: Sachi Cunningham

Let Women Compete in Big-Wave Surf Competitions

FEB 12, 2016

CBS This Morning - Hosts: Charlie Rose, Gayle King and Norah O'Donnell

Wave of sexisim hit Titians of Mavericks surfing competition

FEB 10, 2016

KQED News - Kelly O’Mara (also published in the San Francisco Chronicle)

Mavericks Could Be Required to Include Women Surfers Next Year

FEB 10, 2016

ABC 7 News - Cornell Barnard

Women hope to be invited to Mavericks Surf competition

FEB 8, 2016

Adventure Sports Journal - Haven Livingston

Athlete Profile: Big Wave Bianca

FEB 3, 2016

My Journal - Sabrina Brennan

Hey guys, Mavericks needs women

JAN 27, 2016

Half Moon Bay Review — Op-Ed by Sabrina Brennan

Mavericks needs women

DEC 22, 2015

Surfer - Justin Housman

Mavericks Contest Could Require Women Surfers

DEC 19, 2015

Santa Cruz Sentinel - Haven Livingston

Just Add Water: Women seek equal footing at Mavericks

DEC 11, 2015

Forum KQED radio - host Mina Kim

Mavericks Faces Pressure for Women to Surf Big-Wave Contest

DEC 5, 2015

Associated Press - Kristin J. Bender - (Washington Post & numerous other newspapers)

Women want spot in big wave surf competition in California

NOV 16, 2015

Inertia - Beth O'Rourke

How Women Will Evolve Big Wave Surfing

NOV 11, 2015

Half Moon Bay Review - Clay Lambert

Add women to Mavericks lineup and be on right side of history

NOV 8, 2015

My Journal: notes from the Nov 2015 Coastal Commission hearing - Sabrina Brennan

Women to compete at Mavericks!

NOV 6, 2015

Santa Cruz Sentinel - Haven Livingston

Women to get fair shake at Mavericks

NOV 6, 2015

Inertia - Laurence Bascle

The New Wave of Surf Feminism: This Time, it’s Big!

NOV 5, 2015

Half Moon Bay Review - Carina Woudenberg

Mavericks organizers get crucial last permit

OCT 14, 2015

The Guardian - Will Coldwell

Ripple effect: How Paige Alms is taking female big-wave surfing to new heights

OCT 29, 2015

Huck - Alexia Stamatelatou

Big wave icon Paige Alms is pushing for surfing to take women seriously

JANUARY 28, 2015

The Wave I Ride - Documentary Film, Directed by Devyn Bisson

“As the director of The Wave I Ride, I wish nothing more than for this film to inspire you to vigorously chase the wave your heart needs to ride. The world needs your voice, the world needs your story, and the world needs you to go after it! It’s going to be a bloody mess with no guarantee of protection, but I promise this mess is ours to own as beautiful, vulnerable, and courageous.”

—Devyn Bisson, Director

Dec 16, 2014

 San Francisco Chronicle - Video by Sachi Cunningham

Bianca Valenti, big wave surfer

Bianca Valenti, 29, talks about big wave surfing as she heads from her home in San Francisco to surf Mavericks in Half Moon Bay on the eve of the Wickr women's big wave multimedia event.

Music: Podington Bear, "Driving"

Also featuring surfers Kyle Thiermann and Matt Becker

JULY 30, 2014

Teton - Dylan Silver

Big-Wave Surfer Bianca Valenti - High Fives