Billabong Freewave Challenge Launches On Mainland USA Coastlines

IRVINE, CALIFORNIA — (June 19, 2008) — The second edition of the Billabong Freewave Challenge presented by Monster Energy kicks off on June 20, the first day of summer, and this time focuses on the shores of Mainland USA. Every ride by every surfer captured on video all summer long is eligible for entry and will be displayed on the event website at FreewaveChallenge.com. Video clips may be entered in five different categories including the Monster Maneuver, Small Fries (16 and Under surfers), Best Barrel, Heartbreaker (Female Performance) and the Longest Ride. A total of $40,000 in prize money will be awarded to the surfers and videographers with the most progressive and popular rides.

The first Freewave Challenge took place on the North Shore of Oahu over the elite winter season with top pros taking the top honors. Hawaiian local Jamie O’Brien took the award for Best Maneuver and Timmy Reyes of Huntington Beach, CA won for the Best Tube Ride of the year. With the growing success of the Freewave concept as a showcase for the best surfing outside of regular surf contests, the event has been extended to new regions and new categories of performance.

Any wave ridden at any break along the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the Lower 48 states is eligible for entry this time. All rides must take place between June 20 and the end of summer on September 22. After the entry window closes, the most popular clips will be reviewed and voted on by the surfers and videographers entered in the event and the winners in all five categories will be announced.

With a good run of south swells rolling into California and many of the nation’s top young performers visiting for the NSSA Nationals, the early days of the event window look to be fruitful and fresh clips will be posted by next week. In the meantime, viewers may visit the Freewave Archives and check out all the action from the Freewave North Shore.

Several new categories have been added to Freewave Mainland to expand the scope of the event. These include The Monster Maneuver Award for the most spectacular maneuver or series of maneuvers executed on a single wave; the Small Fries Award for the best performance on a single wave by a surfer age 16 or under; the Best Barrel Award for the longest, deepest and most challenging tube ride; the Heartbreaker Award for the best performance on a single wave by a female surfer; and the Longest Ride Award for the longest elapsed time spent riding a single wave. For full rules and prize money breakdowns, see the event website at FreewaveChallenge.com.

Surfers and videographers wishing to enter the Freewave Mainland can register on the website. Surfers may create their own bio listing and videographers may download items they will need to edit clips and prepare them for uploading in the YouTube-style Freewave Video Hub.

“The Freewave format marks a new era for surfing events, because it lasts for months and anyone can be a part of it,” said event director Bill Sharp. “Although there are prizes, we view the Freewave project as being more like an art show than a competition. There is so much brilliant surfing taking place that has nothing to do with regular surf contests with heats and judges and jerseys, especially on the day of the season at every break all around this country. I think we will see fantastic entries from the West Coast, East Coast and the Gulf and being able to track what everyone else is up to this summer will push the performance levels that much higher. Most importantly, Freewave Mainland is going to be entertaining and fun — like surfing is supposed to be.”

For all the details on the event and to view sample clips for the various categories, go to FreewaveChallenge.com.

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