The Mission hits the coast of France in its continuous spirit of exploration

Free to roam the world in search of the best uncrowded waves, The O’Neill Mission has chosen the west coast of France for its latest adventure. From the wild and rugged coastline of the north around Brest to the renowned surf beaches of Biarritz and Hossegor in the south west, this coastline stretching over 1,000km long offers more than imagined by most.

O’Neill will bring 10 of the most dynamic surfers on the planet to Biarritz on May 17th 2008 from which point they will continuously explore every bay and beach of the French coast in the quest for perfect waves.

They will not stop until May 25th. With the unique contest formula, there is no set plan. The O’Neill Mission is free to drive to wherever the charts inspire, wherever the crowds thin, and (hopefully) the offshore lightly blows.

It is geographically a world away from the past two years of the Mission, staged in the French Polynesian Islands. But as Mission director, Bernhard Ritzer explains: “We wanted to do something totally different from the two previous years. It is about exploring new coastlines, enhancing the spirit of adventure, and getting the best experience for the freesurfing. The west coast of France offers so much potential. It fits perfectly with The O’Neill Mission’s core principles and spirit of exploration and adventure… not to mention challenging the boundaries of professional event innovation.”

While the final line up of surfers on this unique adventure for 2008 is yet to be finalized, eight high profile surfers have already booked their places. The two previous winners of The Mission, Ian Walsh (Haw) and Michel Bourez (Tah) have confirmed they will be back on this year’s trip – each attempting to become the first to win The Mission twice.

Representing the young talent of the world will be Julian Wilson. The 18-year-old is one of the biggest emerging stars from Australia and recognized for his freesurfing prowess, making his mark on the surfing world in Young Guns II. The former ISA World Junior Champion is also credited with performing and naming the worlds first Sushi Roll. Expect great things from this guy in France.

Former WCT competitors, Australian Jarrad Howse, and American Cory Lopez have booked their spots on The Mission 2008, as have three European chargers, Justin Mujica from Portugal and the two French surfers, Tim Boal and Hugo Savalli.

The location might have changed, but the unique and innovative ‘no judges, no rules’ formula of The O’Neill Mission remains. This is surfers judging surfers, with the overall winner walking away with US $25,000.

This unique event taking in the expanse of the coast from Brittany to the Basque country – even including the option to detour to the Mediterranean continues to push the boundaries of surf events and exploration. Now on the European shores, it will be even easier to follow every moment of the journey.


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