15 Things You Should Know About The Billabong Pro
The Billabong Pro is the sixth of 12 events on the 2005 Fosters Men’s ASP World Championship Tour (WCT) — “the dream tour. The circuit determines the annual world surfing champion
The waiting period for the Billabong Pro officially begins on Tuesday 12 July and runs to Friday 22 July, 2005.
The contest requires 33 hours of competition (four full days) and will be staged in the best available conditions during the 11-day waiting period.
The event is held at the famed right hand wave of Jeffreys Bay, South Africa — the contest is staged at “Supertubes, acknowledged as one of the top 10 surfing venues on the planet.
The event features the top 45 surfers from 2004 Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour world ratings plus three wildcards.
The field includes reigning three-time world champion and defending event winner Andy Irons (HAW), six-time world champ and two-time (1997 and 2003) J-Bay event champ Kelly Slater (USA), former winners Mick Fanning (2002), Jake Paterson (2000 and 2001), Joel Parkinson (1999) and Mark Occhilupo (1984), all from Australia.
The wildcards are allocated to the winners of the three Von Zipper Wildcard Trials heats held on the opening day of competition.
The VZ Trials will be contested by nine South Africans, three who came from a nationwide poll of the SA surfing community. One is SA champion, Shane Thorne while the other five are nominated by Von Zipper and include the cream of the country’s emerging surf stars. The SA trialists are joined by three rising talents on the Billabong international surf team.
The first round of the Billabong Pro comprises 16 non-elimination three-man heats. The winner advances directly to round three while second and third places go into round two. From round two onwards, each heat features two surfers (man-on-man) with the winner advancing to the next round and the loser eliminated from the event, until two remain to contest the final.
The Billabong Pro is the only ASP World Championship Tour (WCT) event to be staged in South Africa annually.
The prize purse totals US $270 000 (+/- R1.75 million) with the winner earning $30 000 (+/- R200 000), making it the most lucrative surfing event staged on the African continent
The trialists, who do not qualify for wildcards, will each receive R2 000 from Von Zipper Sunglasses
The Contest Director is big-wave legend and former WCT competitor, Mike Parsons from California, USA.
The event was first run as the Beach Hotel Classic in 1981 with sponsorship totalling R850 (now US $130). The inaugural event saw SA surfing legend Shaun Tomson beat a field of 27 in flawless 1.5 metre (5 foot) surf at “Supertubes.
Internationally renowned surf musician Donavon Frankenreiter is to appear in two concerts in Jeffreys Bay during the Billabong Pro.