The Billabong Pro Returns to Europeâ€šÃ„Ã¶?Ã‘?Â¥s Mythical Mundaka Rivermouth
Mundaka has become a reference in worldwide surfing for its mythical left-hand barrel located at the opening of the rivermouth at Gernika and the North Atlantic Ocean. Since the inaugural event in 1999, surfing legends from all over the world have come to surf this long and hollow line-up.
However, the wave of Mundaka is also known for its fickle conditions. This was made evident with the absence of a workable sandbar, which was the main reason for the event’s cancellation in 2005. According to the latest studies and the observations of the local surfers, the barrels of Mundaka are now back in perfect form.
This year, Billabong will set up an alternate site on the beach of Sopelana, a place that offers fantastic waves. The site is only a few car-minutes away from the center of Bilbao. The decision to surf either at Mundaka or Sopelana will be taken on a daily basis by the contest director, after assessing the conditions in both sites with the surfers and the ASP officials.
The Billabong Pro Mundaka has frequently played a crucial part in deciding world champions. As the third to the last event on the 11 stop tour, intense competition ensues as title contenders jostle for rating points leading into the final two events of the year in Brazil and Hawaii.
Bobby Martinez will be back to try to make it 3 wins in a row at Mundaka along with prestigious names such as Joel Parkinson, Taj Burrow, 07 World Champ Mick Fanning and current tour leader Kelly Slater.
Alongside the world’s 45 best surfers, three “Wild Card” surfers have also been invited to compete in the Billabong Pro Mundaka: surfing legend Mark “Occy” Occylupo, local Basque charger Hodei Collazo and rising Basque star Marcos San Segundo.
An authentic Basque presentation opens the Mundaka event with dances and music and attire. At the start and end of the competition, surfers and officials will be greeted by the Aurresku, an honorific and traditional dance, and the 2008 winner will be carried by the local surf club members to be thrown in the port. That is the price to pay to have your name carved in the white stone of the perpetual Billabong Pro trophy. Winners always accept their trophy wearing a wetsuit and a newly-won Txapela (a traditional large hat.)
The Billabong Pro Mundaka is supported by Euskaltel, Kustom, Von Zipper, Nixon, Yamaha and Cobra Jet ski, as well as the villages of Mundaka and Sopelana with their respective Surf Clubs and the EHSF.