With less than two weeks to go before the starting date, organizers of O’Neill The Mission are making final preparations ahead of the second edition of the ultimate freesurfing challenge.
Following an extended period of meticulous research and reconnaissance at several of the world’s surfing Meccas, organizers of The Mission have announced a welcome return to the warm waters of French Polynesia from 25th May – 4th June. Reflecting on the decision to return to French Polynesia, O’Neill Event Director Bernhard Ritzer said: “We had such a successful freesurfing contest here last year; the place is just beautiful; the people so friendly. We just couldn’t help thinking there was a whole lot more to explore.”
After arriving in the Tahitian capital of Papeete, eight of the world’s best surfers will make their way to the chain of atolls in the Tuamotus, where no fewer than 12 staff will welcome them aboard the 120ft Haumana yacht.
Once settled into their luxurious floating surroundings, invited surfers will embark on a week-long freesurfing quest to discover and tame some of the heaviest reef breaks in the region. Reigning The Mission Champion Ian Walsh, O’Neill team riders Roy Powers, Justin Mujica and Jarrad Howse – fresh from a potentially season-defining 2nd place finish at the 6 Star Prime WQS O’Neill Highland Open – will all be onboard for the duration.
Joining them aboard the Haumana will be Tahitian big wave charger Manoa Drollet and three wild card surfers. O’Neill’s Caroline Sarran, the only European woman competing on the ASP Women’s World Tour in 2007, will also be welcomed aboard as a special guest. Unfortunately, newly-crowned Highland Open Champion Nathan Hedge is unable to make the trip due to pre-arranged commitments – stay tuned to find out who takes the Australian’s precious spot.
Total prizemoney for this incredible freesurfing challenge totals an eye-watering US$50,000, while an innovative peer-based video judging system will motivate all invited surfers to impress one another more than ever in an effort to claim their part of the spoils. Every wave surfed will be filmed ahead of the end-of-week judging session, when surfers will be invited to select their best waves before judging one another’s screamers alongside two guest judges.
With the winner of O’Neill The Mission 2007 set to pocket exactly half the total prize money, current champion Ian Walsh is not surprisingly looking to finish on top once again this year, saying: “The Mission was insane last year. Eight guys getting together and basically having fun, surfing and hanging out – and someone walking away with US$ 25,000, it’s crazy! Of course I’d like it to be me again, but right now I’m just stoked to be part of The Mission once again.”
You can stay up to speed on all the latest news about O’Neill The Mission 2007, including latest additions to the invited rider list, by checking out the brand new event website at www.oneilleurope.om/themission.