O’Neill Presents WQS Maldives Deep Blue Open

A hot bed of the world’s greatest surfers are preparing themselves to followO’Neill Europe to the paradise Republic of the Maldives for the prestigious5 star WQS prime surf event, the 2002 Deep Blue Open. The event returnsto the Maldives (June 10th ? 16th 2002) to once again feast on thesmorgasbord of turquoise world class reef breaks. In 2001 the evententered surfing history as the pros unlocked the secrets of the exclusivesurf Mecca for the first time and in doing so, set the standard for all WQSevents that follow. Most people travel to the Maldives to get away from itall,this June the top WQS surfers will arrive to claim as much of it forthemselves as they can.

The Deep Blue event again boasts the unique boat drop format. A flotilla ofvessels will daily cruise between the East facing palm fringed islands ofthe NorthMale Atoll and assess the conditions at the various breaks. Long, walling,freighttrain lefts and rights can greet the competitors round each corner but eventpriority will be allocated to the break that offers optimum conditions forthe dayscompetition. A choice of 4 high performance wave locations combined with thesix day waiting period, ensures that the 2002 Deep Blue Open will providethemost diverse canvasses for surfers to etch their signatures into. For thewinners,O´Neill offers a reward of $80.000 (USD).

“Which ever way you look at the world, there’s simply not that many prime,exoticsurfing destinations left and the Maldives represents one of those,” saidDeepBlue contest director Matt Wilson.

“For a surfing event it’s simply magical, all be it a bit of a logisticalnightmare.There really is no other surfing event like it in the world, I mean there’sjust noland mass so it’s virtually impossible to get accurate predictions ofweather whichis so critical to decisions on whether to run an event each day and in whichlocation. The main event infrastructure consists of a flotilla of boatswhich is alsoresponsible for choosing the wave locations. We’ve already pre-selected 4high qualitybreaks and we can use any one these. O´Neill should be applauded for theirvision in breaking away from the norm as far as surfing events go.”

Last year American surfer Chris Ward claimed his first WQS victory at theDeepBlue. The final of the event provided some nail biting surfing as the youngAmerican left it until the dying seconds of the competition to launch animpressiveaerial assault and claim the Deep Blue crown from finalists BrazilianRodrigoDornelles and Australian Lee Winkler. This year an even stronger globalcontingent will make the journey to the Indian Ocean, amongst them will beO´Neill team rider and current world number 5 Cory Lopez (US).

1978 World Champion and president of the ASP Wayne ´Rabbit´ Bartholomew,has spearheaded the vision of professional surfing and is the first torecognisethe importance of events such as the O´Neill Deep Blue Open.

“It is very important that major WQS events reflect the direction ASP hastakenwith the World Championship Tour (WCT). The shift to prime locations hasbeenwell received by all involved in the WCT, and as the primary feeder system,the WQS has to be represented in prime surf as well. To this end, eventssuch as the O’Neill Deep Blue Open play an integral role in establishing theWorld’s Top 45. The waves are fantastic in theMaldives, super high performance reef breaks, the event is run veryprofessionally, and the “Deep Blue” is a very meaningful event in the bigpicturedue to the prime bonus points on offer. This June the Maldives will witnesssomeof the most dynamic surfing of the year, for sure.”