Surfing Added To X Games

ESPN’s X Games, the definitive action sports event, has added Surfing to its competition lineup, beginning with X Games IX in Los Angeles this August.  The Surfing competition will be held August 9 at Huntington Beach, also known as “Surf City USA.”  X Games IX will be the first major competition to embrace the National Surf League’s (NSL) “The Game” format, a new competition that features two eight-surfer teams.

The ninth annual X Games in Los Angeles will showcase more than 300 of the world’s best action sports athletes competing in a variety of sports categories for medals and prize money from August 14-17.  STAPLES Center will serve as the primary venue for the X Games, and will host competitions in Bike Stunt, Moto X, Skateboard and Aggressive In-line Skate.  The Moto X Freestyle event will be held at the Los Angeles Coliseum at night under the lights on August 16.  Competitions taking place the week prior will include Surfing at Huntington Beach and Wakeboard, Skateboard Street and Downhill BMX at locations to be announced soon.  More than 20 hours of X Games IX original programming will be featured on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC August 16-22.

“Surfing is the original action sport,” said Chris Stiepock, X Games General Manager.  “We’ve been looking for a way to incorporate this great sport and its tremendous following into the X Games. The Game format, which can be held in a wide variety of surf conditions within a limited time frame, offers a competition flow that is easy to understand, provides constant action, and allows ESPN to showcase the surfer’s incredible talent while they’re having fun.”

The two Surf teams at X Games will be created to play off the time-honored rivalry between America’s east coast and west coast surfers.  Each team will also include two wild cards, which will allow the teams to add surfers from other parts of the world.  The National Surf League will serve as the sport organizer for Surfing in the X Games.  The format:

-Two eight-surfer teams compete in four quarters with each quarter broken off into two twenty-minute heats.

-Each heat is surfed as a team.  Four surfers from one team go out for the first twenty-minute heat, and then four surfers from the other team go out for the quarter’s second twenty-minute heat.

-Surfers keep their top two wave scores.  All athletes’ best two scores are added together for a team score.

-Each team is allotted three time outs per half, usually taken during lulls in wave sets or while team riders are paddling out to the break.

-Team coaches determine which foursome’s will head out – based on match-ups, surf conditions, rider’s strengths, etc.

“Never before has there been a surf contest that encouraged teamwork,” Gerlach said.  “The Game is designed to bring the excitement and spectator-friendly nature of mainstream sports to surfing.  We are excited to work collectively with ESPN in creating a hugely successful GAME to kick off our 2004 NSL Game Series and to be the unparalleled surf format for X Games.”

“The Game” was founded by pro surfer and co-founder of National Surf League (NSL) Brad Gerlach as a revolutionary surfing competition format.  The NSL’s objective is to develop a revolutionary surfing format that is dedicated to the pursuit of surfing excellence, building awareness for the sport and creating a fun, competitive landscape for all types of surfers.

ESPN, The Worldwide Leader in Action Sports, first developed its X Games franchise in 1995.  The X Games, Winter X Games, EXPN 2Day and X Games Global Championship are just some of the original action sports programming currently shown on ESPN and ESPN2.  The brand has also grown to include international X Games events,, EXPN Radio, the large format film ESPN’s Ultimate X and X Games branded skateparks.