On Friday, September 25th was held the official press conference at the Casino of Mundaka where all officials gathered to give the kick off to the upcoming Billabong Pro event. Contest Director Craig Sage officially welcomed everyone and thanked those responsible for all their hard work leading up to this event.

The three wildcards Hodei Collazo (Basque Country), Marcos Sansegundo (Basque Country) and Mark Occhilupo (Australia) together with Tiago Pires (Potugal) and Aritz Aranburu (Basque Country) answered the questions and explained the importance for them to be at Mundaka.

“This event is very important for me, as I need to do a good result here to re-qualify next year", explained Pires. “It has been always very special to me to surf here as I feel like home. The people have been always very supportive."

The two local sons Hodei Collazo and Marcos Sansegundo are both very excited to compete against the world best surfers. Hodei remains one of the best Europeans and proved all his talent when he almost defeated ASP world champion and legend Kelly Slater in Mundaka on 2006. Hodei said: “I lived one of the best moments here in Mundaka. I feel excited to surf against my favourite surfers and best friends!."

For the 18-year-old Marcos it’s the first time to compete in a WCT event. The current Euskadi Open Champ is establishing himself as one of Europe’s top junior surfers “ I am so happy to be able to compete against the world elite. I will try to surf the best possible and see what happens. I would like to thank my sponsor Billabong to make this opportunity happen!"

Event wildcards for the 2008 Billabong Pro Mundaka include also the longest-competing veteran on the ASP World Tour, Mark “Occy" Occhilupo. Mark won the event in 1999, the same year he was crowned World Champion. The wildcard was actually a Birthday Gift from his long old friend Craig Sage for it’s 42 anniversary. “I was in Italy on Promo Trip when Craig offered me this gift. It was the best present I definitely had in a long time so I am really happy to be back on behalf of my sponsor Billabong." Occy will also be working as commentator for the web cast.

The competition can be followed live on www.billabongpro.com.