Mavericks Challenge - Surf Contest


October 1, 2018

The Coastal Commission reviewed a permit application by the World Surf League to authorize a special event permit for a one-day “Mavericks Challenge” surf competition near Pillar Point Harbor in a window of time between October 1, 2018 and March 31, 2018. Activities will include closure of a portion of a trail and parking lot, limits to use of Pillar Point Harbor and Mavericks Beach shoreline area as well as implementation of traffic and parking controls. As proposed, the event would comprise separate divisions for men and women, each with multiple heats; three heats for 10 female contestants and seven heats for 24 male contestants with equitable prize money for all competitors. This represents a significant step forward in gender equity compared to previous contests, which excluded women from competition, and is a result of pressure and requirements put forth by the Coastal Commission and the State Lands Commission in order to ensure equitable public access at this event. The World Surf League recognized the need for change in the face of pressure from the state agencies, the San Mateo County Harbor District, the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing and others in announcing these changes.

Coastal Commissioners approved the coastal development permit unanimously.

Why You Should Care

This CDP represents a great step forward toward access and equity, especially with regard to sporting events in California. The Coastal Commission, in conjunction with the State Lands Commission, was able to send a strong message of California’s mandate for fair and equitable coastal access for all by requiring female participation and equal pay in the Mavericks Challenge surf contest.


Pro-Coast Vote

Anti-Coast Vote

Commissioner Mark Vargas motioned to approve the permit application, relishing in the successful outcome of gender parity and pay equity foreshadowed by his suggestion of inclusion of a women’s heat in the contest put into motion back in 2015. He noted, “It’s not everyday you get to watch a glass ceiling shatter.” Commissioner Luevano seconded the motion. Commissioner Brownsey agreed with praise for the substantial milestone achieved with this application and hopes that young women receive the message that there is no reason they should not too strive for athletic excellence. The motion passed unanimously.

Organizations Opposed

Decision Type

Coastal Development Permit

Staff Recommendation

Approval with Conditions

Coastal Act Policy