Future of Mavericks surf competition uncertain after World Surf League pulls out of event

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KGO) -- The World Surf League announced Friday that it will no longer host the Mavericks surf competition near Half Moon Bay due to "various logistical challenges."

To surfers, the world-renowned Mavericks surf competition is only a pipe dream. The invitation-only event was first held in 1998 and draws in competitors from around the globe.

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Joe Lazzaretti was surfing in nearby Pacifica when he learned at the competition may no longer exist.

"It's pretty amazing to watch...it would be a shame if it's not there anymore."

2020 will be the 4th year without a competition-and this time it's not because of the weather and wave conditions.

The World Surf League which has held sponsorship rights for the competition-decided to pull out. Sending us this statement-saying, "Mavericks will not continue as a WSL Big Wave event due to various logistical challenges, as well as the inability to run the event the last two seasons."

Jeff Clark founded the competition and says despite his love for the invitation-only event, says even he understands the challenges.

"It seemed like everybody-- all the agencies that thought they could get money from it started to require permits. Finally, the red tape isn't worth cutting."

Clark estimates the permitting cost alone to total more than 80-thousand dollars. And unless another sponsor steps up to take on the challenge the future of the competition is in limbo. Something Jeff says it okay for this reason.

"There's going to be the biggest wave and the best wave but it's going to be a judgment of your peers and no one else. And I think sometimes THAT is a success."

Jeff says the WSL holds sponsorship rights for the competition for the next several years, so even if another sponsor were to step up and take on the responsibility it would be up to the WSL whether they'd relinquish the rights.

However, the organization announced that the Strike Mission series and the Big Wave Awards will "very likely feature Mavericks content."

Stay with ABC7 News for updates on this developing story.

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