The Jay at Mavericks Big Wave Invitational

posted by / News / October 25, 2010


By Taylor Paul


It’ll be held in the true spirit of Jay Moriarty, and his spirit will hopefully resonate throughout the event from now on.

“I heard the surfers got the contest,” three-time Mavericks champ Flea Virostiko tells me while we chat in Lighhouse Field across from Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz. “It’s exciting to have the contest after it’s been run by idiots that don’t f–king surf [Mavericks Surf Ventures]; guys who are just in it for the money. That’s not what its about. So now that we got it back I’m psyched.”

While Flea pretty much nailed most contestants’ feelings about the contest, I thought I’d talk to a key player in gaining control over the contest, Frank Quirarte. Frank’s a long time Mavericks photographer and lifesaver and nice person. As we watched Pete Mel’s final heat of the Coldwater Classic, Frank explained the significance of the change..


SURFING Magazine: How are things going to be different now that it’s the surfers and not Maverick’s Surf Ventures running the contest?

Frank Quirarte: First and foremost there’s a management change. And we’ll get back to the soul of the event and the true spirit of big-wave surfing. We’re not selling anything, you know? We’re not selling anything related to it so it’s not a motivation for us anymore so we can focus solely on the event. Safety is going to be huge. I mean, not that safety was ignored, but there wasn’t enough emphasis on it before. We’re going to really focus on that and have people whose only job is keeping things safe.

On the beach and in the water?

On the beach, in the water, and on the cliffs. Everywhere. We’re going to cover every aspect of safety that needs to be covered.


They say it’s now in the hands of the surfers. What does that mean?

Well, now the surfers, and the surfers who represent them, will be planning the entire event alongside the community and the government agencies that are part of the mix as well. It’s no longer in the hands of a corporation. The sole control is in the hands of the surfers and the surfers’ group.

Who is the surfers’ group?

The surfers group is five people: Grant Washburn, Peter Mel, Doug Acton, myself, and Kim Moriarty. There’re a lot of different elements to the event now, so it might get confusing for some people…

Well let’s clear some shit up right here.

[Laughs] Yeah, the surfers’ group represents the surfers past and present. The event will now include all the surfers that were ever A-list competitors, and they’ll be celebrated a lot more than they were in the past. They won’t just surf the contest, not make a heat and be forgotten. They will be celebrated throughout the year and on the websites and at parties, and stuff like that. And of course they’ll be a part of the group that votes in new competitors every year. So that’s pretty huge. It’s them and only them.

Who voted people in before?

It’s not really clear who it was before just…whoever. There wasn’t an official body of people who voted guys in or out. There was a competitor list and an alternate list that was put together by…nobody knows. Osmosis maybe. But it’s not going to be like that anymore, it’s going to be organized.

What’s it called?

It’s called The Jay at Maverick’s Big Wave Invitational and held in the true spirit of Jay Moriarty, one of our big influences and best friends and brothers out at Mavericks. And his spirit will hopefully resonate throughout the event from now on. Jay was pure stoke.

Where is the money going to go from the contest?

It’s going to be a non-profit. In the past, people were getting big payouts; that’s not going to happen anymore. People will have jobs to do and they’ll get paid for it. The sponsors will put up enough money to cover the event and if there is any profit, some of it will go to charities. There’s no money set aside for charity so to speak, but they’ll be able to make money from it; we’ll be able to raise money for those charities.

But there’s nobody throwing a bunch of money into the pot, and everybody reaches in and grabs it. Every dollar will be accounted for, and that’s all going to be managed by Darren [Brilhart], who’s doing [the Coldwater Classic] right here. His company will manage the dollars and cents of the event. He’ll be writing the checks. And everyone — you know, in the past it was a big issue — from the vendors to the surfers to the judges, will be paid on time, as close to the contest date as possible, if not before.

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  • Jeffery

    What’s up with Jeff Clark? I know he has been in the mix, but he isn’t mentioned here

  • Heather

    This is great to see the surfers group consists of people who actually surf, and not those who ride the coat tails….

  • Matt

    Its nice to see real people running this contest and not douchebags like Keir Beadling.

  • ray

    Why did they choose to follow the Quiksilver route and name it after someone? I am all for the surfers controlling it, but if a person should be named, its founder: Jeff Clark. He wasn’t looking for a cover shot on Surfer, but devoting his time to riding the wave and pioneering what went on there alone. I am no longer living in Santa Cruz, but that’s what the place is about: riding and not phony cliches like “stoke” to define a spot and a contest. Looking at those involved, can you say “agenda”?

  • ashley


  • Rayray

    Ray I think he said they represent the surfers? So all the surfers have agenda’s too? Jeff Clark caused this mess and these guys have all called BS on it once and for all. If that’s the agenda I’m all for it! Jay Would Go!

  • Matt

    Ray, you are obviously clueless about the whole operation. Maybe you should just stop talking about things you have no clue about.

  • Eldoro

    Mavs has big waves and hairy drops. What day is contest when i be in USA? go!!!

  • ray

    Yeah, I’m clueless about the whole operation… what does it really consist of? An agenda. Or maybe I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.

  • stingraysteve

    The Mavs contest drew more National attention the last several years than ever before. Good or bad thats over, and it sounds like thats what the new organizers want. It’s a special event at a special place in a small community. Be happy with that.

  • charles webster baer

    ah yeah . whats the minimum wave height .

  • Pedro

    Jeff deserves to be involved regardless of his advertised incompitance. He is a legend. Everybody screws up. Give him another chance. Also, let Slater in the comp. I’d rather watch him than Travis Payne or Nic Lamb.

  • Alex

    If the surfers are the ones running the contest, why is Frank Queertete the spokesman for the group when he’s nothing more than a guy who takes pictures? That’s the part that makes little sense to me.

  • Pedro

    Frank is also the guy who has saved many surfers lives by risking his own and doing PWC rescues out there. He’s not just a photographer…dumbshit.

  • the dog

    Hey Alex, it sounds like Frank just clicks the camera, but not so. He may not ride the waves like the guys voted into the contest, but he rides the pulse of the Break as well as anyone that’s ever surfed it.