The Titans of Mavericks event always seems to be at the center of some kind of controversy. Remember when the ridiculously named Committee Five banned Twiggy and Pete Mel because they dared opposed the Committee Five? Or remember when it was canceled five times since 1999? Or remember when spectators were washed off the beach? Or remember when they never, ever invited a single woman and refused to run women’s heats despite the fact that we’re not living in the 1800s? It looks as though they’re finally trying to fix that last one, though. According to the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Cartel Management submitted plans for the first women’s heat, slated for the 2017/2018 season.
There are a few things wrong with the Titans of Mavericks event (and a few things right). First, and perhaps most annoyingly, is the lack of the apostrophe. Maverick’s is named after a german shepherd that would attempt to follow Alex Matienzo, Jim Thompson, and Dick Notmeyer into the water as they surfed inside Pillar Point and watched the massive waves on the outside. The dog’s name, of course, was Maverick. That can be excused because hell, Hollywood’s Chasing Mavericks fucked it up, too, and whoever came up with the name probably isn’t a big reader.
Second, and perhaps most importantly, is that fact that since the event’s inception, they have never invited one single woman, nor have they organized a heat for women. Not once. Not despite repeatedly being called out. But it looks as though they’re finally listening. The plans Cartel Managment (who not only manage Titans but worked with Kanye on three of his records!) submitted to the California Coastal Commission say the women’s heat would include six competitors and would start next year.
This comes just after the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing, a group formed by Paige Alms, Bianca Valenti, Andrea Moller, and Keala Kennelly, made an official plea to the California Coastal Commission. “I feel like every year they pat us on the head and say, ‘No, you guys aren’t good enough,'” Kennelly told Chase Sheinbaum. “‘Women don’t belong out there’ has basically been the attitude.”
It is a sticky subject, though. Back in 2012, Keala wrote something for us called Chicks vs. Maverick’s. Here’s a part of it:
For big wave contest organizers, including women in big wave events creates some conflicts.
The first consideration is a scheduling conflict. In most cases, contests only have one day to run the whole event, and there is a limited amount of daylight available. This problem is not exclusive to big wave events; a lack of swell during contest windows is what ultimately killed the ASP World Tour event at Teahupoo. That started a domino effect of losing Women’s WCT events in challenging waves. This has seriously hurt the Women’s WCT Tour.
The other conflict that has prevented women’s inclusion into the Maverick’s Contest and the Eddie is the fact that there are so many men who want to compete. Most of them never get an invitation. I hate to say it, but there is a huge alternate list of hungry guys who will probably go bigger and take off deeper than any of the women. So I get the reasoning behind why women have not been invited.
But that’s not the point–the women want their own heat, and it looks like they’re going to get it. “There’s no other sport in the world where the men compete against the women,” said Keala Kennelly. “The Williams sisters are never going to play against Federer.”
The CCC is the entity that grants the permits for the event to take place, and last year, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel, members voted to “require any entity seeking a Maverick’s contest permit to also provide a plan for encouraging equal opportunity for women surfers in future events.”
Both the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing’s proposal and the Titans of Mavericks’ plans will be considered at a meeting held early in November. Also on the docket is Cartel Management’s request to extend their existing permit through to 2021–and if all goes to plan, that’ll be five years that include women’s heats… finally.