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NEW FORMAT ADDS EXTRA SPICE TO THE RIP CURL PRO PIPELINE MASTERS

Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters
(December 8-20)


See the event LIVE on www.aspworldtour.com or www.ripcurl.com

PIPELINE, Hawaii (Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2006) – With the surfing world now firmly focused on the infamous North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii for the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, the excitement is expected to peak when the first round of the Foster’s ASP World Tour’s penultimate event – the Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters – kicks off on December 8.

The event, which is held at the notoriously dangerous yet incredibly perfect wave known as the Banzai Pipeline, is arguably the most watched on the 11-event tour.And despite Kelly Slater (USA) having wrapped up his eighth world crown two events previous in Spain, the “Showdown For The Crown”, as it has been dubbed, is expected as always to serve up a smattering of only the most spectacular surfing action.

The Banzai Pipeline is an incredibly hollow wave, which breaks when deep-water swell converges with deadly shallow coral reefs. And for the surfer the experience is a complete rush as while they avoid being slammed into oblivion by pure Hawaiian power, they can ride deep inside some prolific barrels.

And while the focus will be on the best of the best on the Foster’s ASP World Tour much attention will be directed to the vast number of locals who will be taking part in the event with the draw being adjusted to accommodate 16 Pipe chargers – thus taking the standard 48 man lineup to a total of 64.

“This year the 45 surfers on the Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour will be joined by three Rip Curl wildcards and 16 Pipeline specialists in the Pipe Masters hunt,” said Rip Curl International’s Head Of Marketing Neil Ridgway. “The changing format in 2006 guarantees that the locals who surf the world’s deadliest wave day in day out [some of Hawaii’s finest] will be on show in the main event hoping to fulfill the dream of a life time – to become a Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Master!

“Only Pipeline offers such a unique scenario,” Ridgway continued. “You may be fighting for a world title or for points for requalification and not only do you need to beat the guys you surf against all year, but you now have the best Pipeline locals to contend with! It adds to the pressure, adds to the excitement and adds to the ‘Showdown for the Crown’.”

With the world crown already in the bag the race to claim the remaining four slots in surfing’s coveted Foster’s ASP World Tour top five is still raging and going into the Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters Australian hot shot Mick Fanning is edging just in front of former three-time world champion and defending event champion Andy Irons (HAW).

Fanning, who was a finalist in last year’s event, has been in tremendous form during the latter stages of the 2006 season and has claimed two event wins – one in South Africa and the most recent in Brazil less than four weeks ago.

Knowing that competition will be fierce Fanning is eager for to take the challenge head on.

“I wish the world title was still up for grabs!” said Fanning. “It’s still going to be a good battle going into Pipe though with second spot up for grabs and I know the guys under me are going to be gunning for a top result. It’s always a big event, so hopefully I can get a result there.”

“I’ve made two finals at Pipe now and have a fourth and a second, so hopefully the next one for me is that Pipe championship,” said Fanning. “It’s a huge contest that everyone wants to win, so hopefully I can get it.”

The immediate forecast for the North Shore of Oahu looks very promising indeed with a huge swell expected within the next 24 hours – just in time for the completion of the second of the three Vans Triple Crown Of Surfing events being staged at Sunset Beach tomorrow.

Rip Curl and ASP will be hosting a live webcast of the entire event, which will include action replays and commentary from some of the sports most notable characters.

Stay tuned to www.ripcurl.com and www.aspworldtour.com for all the details.

For further information about the Vans Triple Crown Of Surfing go to www.triplecrownofsurfing.com

Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Master’s Past Champions

Year Champion Home Country

2005 Andy Irons Hawaii
2004 Jamie O’Brien Hawaii
2003 Andy Irons Hawaii
2002 Andy Irons Hawaii
2001 Bruce Irons Hawaii
2000 Rob Machado California
1999 Kelly Slater Florida
1998 Jake Paterson Australia
1997 John Gomes Hawaii
1996 Kelly Slater Florida
1995 Kelly Slater Florida
1994 Kelly Slater Florida
1993 Derek Ho Hawaii
1992 Kelly Slater Florida
1991 Tom Carroll Australia
1990 Tom Carroll Australia
1989 Gary Elkerton Australia
1988 Robby Page Australia
1987 Tom Carroll Australia
1986 Derek Ho Hawaii
1985 Mark Occhilupo Australia
1984 Joey Buran USA
1983 Dane Kealoha Hawaii
1982 Michael Ho Hawaii
1981 Simon Anderson Australia
1980 Mark Richards Australia
1979 Larry Blair Australia
1978 Larry Blair Australia
1977 Rory Russel Hawaii
1976 Rory Russel Hawaii
1975 Shaun Tomson South Africa
1974 Jeff Crawford USA
1973 Gerry Lopez Hawaii
1972 Gerry Lopez Hawaii
1971 Jeff Hakman Hawaii

Current Foster’s ASP World Tour Top 10 Ratings After Event #10 The Nova Schin Festival Brazil

1. Kelly Slater (USA) 7824
2. Mick Fanning (AUS) 6638
3. Taj Burrow (AUS) 6480
4 Bobby Martinez (USA) 6350
5. Andy Irons (HAW) 6348
6. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 6240
7. Damien Hobgood (USA) 5774
8. Tom Whitaker (AUS) 5138
9. Taylor Knox (USA) 4880
10. Dean Morrison (AUS) 4856