IRVINE, CA. (May 31, 2000) — Current world champion Mark Occhilupo and six-time world champion Kelly Slater will lead the world’s greatest surfers to the famed Southern California surf spot of Trestles for the Billabong Pro September 24-30. The event is a crucial stop on the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Championship Tour.
Located on the north end of Camp Pendleton, just south of Orange County, Trestles has always been a fabulous surf venue — particularly in late summer. While several regional and domestic competitions have taken place there over the years, an ASP World Championship Tour event has never been held before at Trestles.
“The surfers have been campaigning for an event at Trestles for years,” Billabong Vice President of Marketing Graham Stapelberg said. “Billabong has a reputation for creating events for surfers and their fans. Once again we have stepped up to the plate to stage an event at another world class venue.” Surf fans will not wait long to watch Trestles light up. Slater, the greatest competitive surfer in history and a huge crowd favorite, recently received a wild-card entry from Billabong. He will join fellow wildcard nominations, the current Junior World Champ, Joel Parkinson and Californian Benji Weatherly. Slater missed most of the 1999 season after winning a fifth consecutive world title, but will surf at least five of the 2000 ASP World Tour events. In 1990, Slater scored his first professional victory at Trestles in a U.S. Pro Tour event. Others to watch will include the Australian 1-2 punch of Occhilupo and Taj Burrow, Californians Rob Machado, Tim Curran and Shane Beschen, Hawaiians Shane Dorian, Sunny Garcia and Ross Williams, and Florida’s dual brother acts of C.J. and Damien Hobgood, and Shea and Cory Lopez. The Lopez brothers now live in San Clemente, along with Beschen.
The tournament and its $150,600 purse culminates a four-event Billabong Pro series — the largest such mini-series on the ASP World Tour. Additional stops take place on Australia’s Gold Coast in March, South Africa’s Jeffreys Bay in July and the Spanish and French coasts in early September.
The Billabong Junior Series and Women’s World Qualifying Series tournament will take place simultaneously in nearby San Clemente at the San Clemente Pier.