• BILLABONG FREEWAVE CHALLENGE CLOSES ON U.S. MAINLAND AS SUMMER ENDS!

BILLABONG FREEWAVE CHALLENGE CLOSES ON U.S. MAINLAND AS SUMMER ENDS;

FINALISTS IN VIDEO-BASED FREE SURFING EVENT TO BE ANNOUNCED NEXT WEEK

NEWPORT BEACH, CA -- (September 23, 2008) -- After 94 sun-filled days when any wave counted, the door of eligibility swung shut yesterday on the Billabong Freewave Mainland video surfing event. For the entire span of the three months of summer, any wave ridden by any surfer outside of a regular contest on the East, West and Gulf Coasts of the USA and caught on video was eligible for $40,000 in cash prizes across five different categories.

Now that the open period of the event has concluded, there is time allotted for the final clips of rides from the last week to trickle in, but the finalists in the various divisions will be announced by next Monday, September 29.   The categories include Monster Maneuver <http://mainland8.freewavechallenge.net/categories/8/Monster-Maneuver> , Small Fries <http://mainland8.freewavechallenge.net/categories/9/Small-Fries>  (under 16 surfers), Best Barrel <http://mainland8.freewavechallenge.net/categories/10/Best-Barrel> , Heartbreaker <http://mainland8.freewavechallenge.net/categories/11/Female-Performance>  (female performance) and the Longest Ride <http://mainland8.freewavechallenge.net/categories/12/Longest-Ride> . Video clips of over 135 rides have been entered around the United States Mainland and can be viewed right now at the Freewave Video hub <http://mainland8.freewavechallenge.net/> . Finalists are selected based on the combined input of public support (average number of daily views) and the votes of an expert judging panel. Among the most-viewed Monster Maneuver entries are the "Ryan Carlson 540 Rodeo in Huntington Beach <http://mainland8.freewavechallenge.net/video/212/Ryan-Carlson-540-Rodeo-in-Huntington-Beach> " and the "Aaron Cormican Air Reverse <http://mainland8.freewavechallenge.net/video/341/Aaron-Cormican-Air-Reverse> " on Florida's Gulf Coast.

The last two weeks have produced an absolute deluge of entries into the Freewave event thanks to several south swells in the west and a series of excellent Hurricane swells along the East and Gulf Coasts.   Hurricanes Fay, Gustav, Hannah and Ike whipped up outstanding swells in Alabama, both sides of Florida, then up the Eastern Seaboard to Georgia, the Carolinas and on to New England.   Most of the longest tubes entered into the Freewave's Best Barrel category have come as a result of these tropical cyclones.   Leading in popularity at this point are Geoff Moysa <http://mainland8.freewavechallenge.net/video/199/Geoff-Moysa--stand-up-tube>  at Newport Beach, Zander Morton <http://mainland8.freewavechallenge.net/video/350/Zander-Morton-Gulf-Coast-Barrel>  on Florida's Gulf and Jesse Hines <http://mainland8.freewavechallenge.net/video/349/Jesse-Hines-mental-tube-during-Hurricane-Ike-Outer-Banks>  at the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Another recent surge in entries has come in the Longest Ride category were several gentle longboard cruises in the one-minute range have ignited a passionate competition, with entrants asking for rulings on what amount of crumbling whitewater actually constitutes a "rideable wave."   The debate is likely to rage on, with the fun-based category created to cause a spirited competition to cruise as far as possible while risking the least amount of performance.

Once the finalists are revealed next Monday, a large voting panel consisting of the surfers, the videographers, select surf media and website members will cast their votes on whose performances were the finest based on the precise criteria laid out in the rules.   A full outline of the event along with detailed rules can be found a the FreewaveChallenge.com website.

*********************
MEDIA CONTACT
Bill Sharp    SurfNewsEd@aol.com    949548-6740