Big wave legend Jeff Clark sues Mavericks Surf Ventures

January 20, 2010 | Surfing
Jeff Clark

Mavericks pioneer and big wave surf legend Jeff Clark filed a lawsuit today against Mavericks Surf Ventures Inc. (MSV), the company he co-founded to run the Mavericks Surf Contest, and its current directors. The lawsuit cites breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraud.

The lawsuit comes one week after an already re-scheduled mediation was canceled by MSV attorney Paul Marotta and CEO Keir Beidling, claiming the Mavericks Surf Contest would be held that week. It was not.

"I've waited patiently and remained quiet in an effort to settle our issues in private, without casting a shadow over the contest that I founded. But it's obvious MSV has no intention of working this out. They have forced me to file suit in order to move on with my life," Clark said.

"When I signed on to partner with Keir and Evolve Sports, I trusted them to do the right thing, to honor my spirit and passion for surfing," Clark said.

"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."

The complaint, filed with the Superior Court of San Francisco County, states that MSV breached its contracts with Clark, withheld payments on those contracts, and breached its fiduciary duties to shareholders by the Board's self-dealing, squandering of corporate assets, and failure to disclose even basic financial and other corporate information.

The suit claims that, in breaching their fiduciary duties, MSV and its current directors acted with oppression, fraud, and malice.

"Jeff is a nice guy who, on his own, wouldn't seek vindication through legal action. Jeff is one of the world's greatest big wave surfers, is passionate about his work, and cares about surfing and the surf community," said Clark's attorney Richard Mooney.

"It is my job to care about Jeff and his interests. And in this case, his interests were harmed by corporate executives who made promises they never intended to keep."

Clark is credited with pioneering Mavericks, the big wave surf spot off the California coast, at the age of 17.

Clark surfed Mavericks alone for 15 years before it became recognized by the surf community as one of the biggest and most dangerous big waves in the world.

In 1998, Clark founded the Mavericks Surf Contest with Quiksilver, calling it the Men Who Ride Mountains event.

Clark partnered with Evolve Sports in 2003 to represent him as an athlete, and later they created Mavericks Surf Ventures to run the Mavericks Surf Contest.

MSV terminated Clark as Contest Director in June 2009.

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