Vans and Billabong today announced that Billabong has signed on as lead partner and title sponsor of the Pipeline Masters, the legendary 37-year-old event regarded as the world’s most prestigious surfing contest.

The Billabong Pipeline Masters will be the finale to the Foster’s Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour and will sit alongside Billabong’s portfolio of events held in some of finest venues around the globe – including Teahupoo, Tahiti; Jeffreys Bay, South Africa; Mundaka, Spain; and the women’s final event at Honolua Bay, Maui.

“Hawaii has been and still remains the true testing ground for any professional surfer," said Graham Stapelberg VP of Marketing at Billabong USA. “The greatest world title showdowns have all taken place at Pipeline and Billabong is proud to be part of this rich heritage.

“Billabong will now have both the final Men’s and Women’s World Tour events on the ASP World Tour." The 2007 Billabong Pipeline Masters caps off the 25th edition of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing and as the final event on the Foster’s ASP World Tour it is possible that the eventual world champion will be decided at the event.

Billabong has had a longstanding impact on professional surfing on Hawaii’s North Shore. During the 1980’s when the pro tour was struggling, the surf company launched the Billabong Pro to set several new benchmarks. Prize money was lifted to previously unheard of levels, a mobile venue was utilized between Sunset and Waimea Bay which eventuated in the largest surf ever seen in ASP competition history.

“The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing couldn’t be prouder than to have a partner such as Billabong, a true leader in the sport and culture," said Doug Palladini, Vans’ Vice President of Marketing. “As we celebrate 25 years of history and surfing tradition on the North Shore, cementing our partnership with Billabong only builds on the legacy of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing."

ASP President and 1978 world champion Wayne Rabbit Bartholomew echoed the sentiments. “Pipe is the ultimate arena and the Pipeline Masters is the most prestigious title on tour," said Bartholomew. “Billabong bring their wealth of event skills to this North Shore icon and this partnership personifies the dream tour concept."

www.billabong.com

www.aspworldtour.com