A huge weather system covering most of the South Atlantic ocean and predicted to generate swells between 15 and 20 foot in height has prompted the organizers of the 2004 Red Bull Big Wave Africa extreme surfing event to put the 12 invited athletes on standby for a possible start on Wednesday morning.
Ideal weather and tidal conditions — light NW offshore winds and low tide at 12:30 — are forecast and with arguably the best field of specialist big wave surfers to grace the event, everyone involved is keen to get out in some sizeable Cape surf and crown another Red Bull BWA champion.
The 2004 edition of the event has featured only one day of surfing at Dungeons, the deep-water reef outside Hout Bay that produces the biggest rideable waves on the African continent. That session was held in 2.5 to 3.5 meter (8-10 foot) swells that generated waves with 12 to 15 foot faces, well short of the required minimum of five metre swells producing wave faces the height of a three story building required to stage the contest for the third time in its six year history.
Contest director Gary Linden will be on the Sentinel Mountain at first light on Wednesday in order to visually check the conditions. He and Cape Town big wave legend Jonathan Paarman, who will be out in the break on an inflatable boat, have until 11am to make a decision on whether to give the event the Green for Go status.
The event requires three hours of competition to determine the winner with the top three competitors in each of the two one-hour semis advancing to the 60 minute final, which will be held approximately half an hour after the second semi is completed. The champion is then announced back on the quayside in Hout Bay harbor.
The line-up for the two Red Bull BWA 2004 semi-finals is as follows:
Grant 'Twiggy' Baker (Durban)
Darryl 'Flea' Virostko (Santa Cruz, California)
Jason Ribbink (Berea, Durban)
Jamie Sterling (Oahu, Hawaii)
Andrew Marr (Kommetjie, Cape Town)
Carlos 'Coco' Nogales (Puerto Escondido, Mexico)
Greg Long (San Diego, California)
Sean Holmes (Wilderness, Western Cape)
Carlos Burle (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Mickey Duffus (Kommetjie, Cape Town)
Grant Washburn (San Francisco, California)
Justin Strong (Camps Bay, Cape Town)
For more details on all aspects of the event, including surfer profiles, weather and wave predictions, the daily log of happenings and uploaded images and how to watch the event both virtually or from the shore or water, visit www.redbullbwa.com
For details on previous events visit www.redbullbwa.com