International Surfing Company Rip Curl has announced that it will be adding an all-new ‘globally mobile’ World Championship Tournament to the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Championship Tour (WCT) in 2005.
Announced by Neil Ridgway, Rip Curl Global Head of Marketing, during the Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters Official Welcome Party at Waimea Falls in Hawaii last night, the innovative contest will grow the WCT to 13 separate events next year and be held on Reunion Island in June.
The license to run this event is made exclusively special by the fact that Rip Curl will take the WCT to a different location around the world every year. After running the inaugural Rip Curl Search on Reunion Island in 2005, Rip Curl will explore the world’s oceans and announce a new location for 2006.
“The Rip Curl Search WCT is an exciting and very innovative development, said Ridgway. “It’s all about finding the best waves in the spirit of The Search, which is all about discovery and freedom. That might seem at odds with professional surfing, but no one can tell me the world’s best surfers are not on the ASP World Championship Tour. It’s simple — the best surfers on the search for the best waves, surfing their heads off!
Rip Curl already hosts world surfing’s two most prestigious events — the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach and the Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters, which is currently running at Banzai Pipeline on Hawaii’s North Shore — and adding an event of this magnitude really shows the company’s strong support of professional surfing and professional competition surfing.
The new event is the first of its kind and sure to prove a favourite with the world’s top surfers. Current world #7 Nathan Hedge (Aus) has already given the ‘thumbs up’ to spending year one of The Search at Reunion.
“I’m absolutely wrapped, said Hedge. “Rip Curl has added another high class, A-grade left-hand wave to the Tour and I’m stoked. I haven’t been to Reunion for four or five years, so I’m absolutely frothing for next year.
ASP WCT Tour Manager Renato Hickel shares Hedge’s excitement: “The WCT is very happy Rip Curl is taking us back to Reunion after so many years of absence. We always consider the break of St. Leu as one of the prime venues in the world. In the opinions of many — the judging panel, surfers and media — it is a wave of top quality. On top of that, Reunion is one of the most exotic places in the world. It is a dream location.
Reunion Island is a French colony, located in the southern Indian Ocean. Described at its most simple, Reunion is a volcano poking its head 10,000 feet above sea level in a part of the Indian Ocean that has absolute frontage to the swell of the southern Indian Ocean.
St. Leu is Reunion’s most famous wave, but through the swell months of March to November there are many incredible breaks to explore. Reunion is world famous for its tourist attractions, a live volcano, ocean life, incredible mountain trails and beautiful waterfalls.
The Rip Curl Search WCT will run at Reunion Island in June 2005 (exact date still to be confirmed).