6-STAR WQS O’NEILL HIGHLAND OPEN BY SWATCH MOVES IN TO PRIME OF LIFE

The O’Neill Highland Open by Swatch 2007, will return to Scotland’s northernmost coast from 24th April – 01st May 2007 as part of the 2007 ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) Tour.

Widely recognized by surfers across the world as the coldest event on the WQS tour, the O’Neill Highland Open has been newly upgraded to a maximum 6-star WQS contest in recognition of its status as one of the most progressive events in competitive surfing. Added to that, the second edition of this ground-breaking surf contest has also been classified as one of only seven worldwide prime locations on the WQS tour – meaning extra WQS ratings points on offer, including a potentially decisive 3000 points for the winner, in contrast to the 2500 points available for 1st place at other 6-star events.

The promise of consistent overhead swells and a prize purse totaling some $125,000 will see the world’s best up-and-coming surfers converging on Thurso – the northernmost town on the British mainland. Lying at a spine-chilling 59 degrees north, the mythical reef break of Thurso East will play official host to the event, while a mobile contest format will guarantee competitors and spectators with the best possible surfing conditions in the region.

In addition to Thurso East, contest organizers have also singled out a number of other potential waves, including the legendary Brimms, Point of Ness and Skirza – a cobblestone point left-hander located just below John O’ Groats. Other potential targets in case of variable wind conditions include the predominantly right-hand Melvich wave and Strathy beachbreak. No matter where the surf fires up, contest organizers will have everything they need to access the goods, thanks to the presence of two 6-Wheel-Drive Offroad Safari Vehicles, ensuring unprecedented contest mobility.

The blazing overhead conditions blessing last year’s Highland Open were responsible for producing some of the most insane surfing on the QS calendar in 2006, and there’s every chance we’ll be seeing a repeat this time around. Once again, pumping swells set against the Scottish coast’s rugged backdrop will combine to set the stage for 192 of the world’s most promising surfers to battle it out for top honors.

As well as the 3000 ratings points going towards possible qualification to the ASP’s elite World Championship Tour (WCT), the winner will also pick up a handsome pay check, the second edition of the already legendary Highland Open sword trophy and 1 of 2 qualification spots to the second edition of O’Neill The Mission, scheduled to unfold in the warm waters of Tahiti in June 2007.

With such a stunning backdrop, so much surfing talent in one place and with so many WQS ratings points up for grabs, there’s little doubt that the O’Neill Highland Open 2007 will explode with some of the most progressive surfing action. Plus, you can catch all the best action thanks to LIVE WEBCASTS by Freecaster during the contest. Just visit www.oneilleurope.com/highlandopen