The World’s Most Visible Surfer: Malia Jones signs two-year agreement with Billabong.

Who is the most visible surfer in the world? Is it Shane Dorian because of his role in In God’s Hands? Is it Matty Liu for In God’s Hands, Wind On Water, and his other roles? Most likely it’s Kelly Slater, not just for Baywatch and his six world titles, but for the afterglow from squiring Pamela Anderson Lee, one of the most famous women on Earth.

It’s possible that none of the above are true, if you check out the 1999 resume of Malia Jones:

Fashion layouts in the December and January issues of Elle.

Fashion layouts in the December and January issues of Shape.

A profile in the January Maxim magazine.

Listed as number one on the Sex-O-Meter (a guide to what’s hot for 1999) in the January issue of Details magazine.

A worldwide Club Med campaign.

A 1999 Espirit clothing print campaign.

A layout in the March issue of Self magazine

A centerfold poster and fashion layout in the February Bikini magazine.

The cover of Shape magazine in May.

Co-host on E-Entertainment’s Wild on the Hawai’ian Islands in April.

A fashion layout in the April edition of Surfing magazine.

Featured on E Entertainment’s Sexy Swimwear ’99 in May

Profiled on Fox Television’s Fox Files, May 1999

A Fashion Layout in the Women’s Sports and Fitness summer issue.

At 5’5″ and 110 pounds, the 22-year-old Oah’u native is petite and huge at the same time. She is very visible, on the upper tier of the modeling world, and knocking at the door of supermodel status. Malia Jones is also one of the most visible swimsuit models in an insanely competitive arena. In most of her magazine profiles and TV spots, her real love, surfing, is credited with helping her maintain that fit, nonfat, healthy glow.

So it’s possible that Malia Jones is the best-known surfer in the world.

If that’s true, then Billabong USA will be getting its money’s worth, as management has signed her to a two-year sponsorship deal to serve as a figurehead for the Billabong Girls line. Jones will complement World Champion Layne Beachley on a team that includes pro surfers Cara Hemperley, Alana Brennan, Belen Connelly and pro skateboarder Jesse Van Roechoudt.

Billabong USA Marketing Director Graham Stapleberg says that Jones is a welcome addition to the team: “The image for Billabong Girls at this point mirrors that of the men¿youthful, young, and vibrant and also lifestyle driven. The people involved in helping endorse Billabong are all authentic surfers, and Malia is definitely that. Just ask her, she’s a surfer first and a model second.”

We did ask Jones, and she backed up Stapelberg. “I don’t really think of myself as a model,” Jones said. “It’s just something I do every once in a while, but for the most part I live a normal life here on the North Shore, surfing and hanging out. Billabong sent me some of its girls’ line to check out and I found that it was just right for what I like to do: surf and hang out. I wouldn’t have signed if I didn’t like the line or the company, but I like both.”

Jones contract is for two years, and won’t interfere with her other modeling commitments in any way. Billabong will be very demanding of Ms. Jones. She’ll be required to go on surf trips, look good in the clothes, and basically serve as what she is: a hero and role model to the growing market of young women surfers.