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Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Clark wins suit against MSV

By Ethan Stewart
ESPN Action Sports

Jeff Clark pioneered the big wave spot Maverick's.

A long-stewing lawsuit between Maverick's pioneering patriarch Jeff Clark and Maverick's Surf Ventures, which had been running the annual big wave contest at the Northern California surf spot since 2003, was decided in a San Francisco Superior Courtroom recently with the 54 year-old Clark coming out on top. In a ruling signed by Superior Court Judge Peter Busch late last month, it was determined that MSV, despite formally dissolving in the wake of the 2010 contest, is still on the hook to pay Clark a total of $625,000 by 2017.

Clark originally helped organize MSV, but in January of 2010 he filed suit claiming, amongst other things, fraud and breach of contract. At the time, Clark explained in a prepared public statement, "I made a mistake and I trusted the wrong people. They have refused to honor the contracts they created and have turned the contest into a corporate circus." Just a few months later, in March, Clark and the folks from MSV, which included his ex-wife Katherine Kelly Clark, negotiated an apparent settlement. But the compromise proved to be short lived as the 54 year-old big wave legend was back in the court in September of that year filing suit yet again after MSV failed to honor the terms of the new deal. It was the latter suit that was settled by Busch last month.

Interestingly enough, the most recent ruling comes as a Clark-led group and the recently-formed Maverick's Community LLC, which features a few former members of MSV, are in competition to secure the necessary permits to once again hold a big-wave event at Maverick's. The future of such an event has been in doubt since April, when the event's primary sponsor, Barracuda Networks, announced that they were pulling out. The permit, which is issued by the San Mateo County Board of Harbor Commissioners, was meant to be decided last week, but at a Wednesday meeting Harbor District General Manager Pete Grenell announced that Clark and company are now trying to work in concert with the Maverick's Community group to potentially file a joint application for the coveted permit. Grenell then said the Commission tabled their decision and have rescheduled until August 17 in an effort to let the two groups continue to work on a joint application.