Putting aside backroom politics, Maverick pioneer Jeff Clark appeared “out of the mist” on a stand up paddleboard and into the ceremonial blessing that marks the beginning of the big wave contest. Pretty classy maneuver on Clark’s part after he was stripped of his title as Mavericks contest director.
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The Maverick’s surf contest held its opening ceremony in the shadow of the break yesterday, and as the surfers staged an annual ritual — paddling out on their boards to form a circle and christen the event — a solitary figure appeared out of nowhere. “Out of the mist,” as Evan Slater said with a smile.
It was Jeff Clark, cruising in on a stand-up paddle board. Clark may be the center of a highly political squabble behind the scenes, but he wanted to give the event his blessing. He said a few words, provided a much-needed jolt of inspiration and then paddled off.
“It was a great thing,” said Slater. “Really eased our minds. We know these past few months have really been hard on Jeff, and it was great to know he’s behind us.”
Clark, stripped of his contest-director title by Maverick’s Surf Ventures, has not made peace with the contest organizers. He is reportedly preparing legal action and won’t be seen anywhere contest-related events (including last night’s party at the Oceano Hotel in Half Moon Bay). Some feared that Clark, behind the scenes, would try to convince surfers to boycott the contest, which opens its window tomorrow.