Superstars Dane Reynolds, Shane Dorian and Bruce Irons plus surfing legends Mark "Occy" Occhilupo, Luke Egan and Rob Machado have all accepted their invitations to the inaugural 2012 Billabong Mundaka Challenge, presented by Sony Ericsson.
These international stars will compete against a class field of European and local Basque surfers for the right to win the first ever Billabong Mundaka Challenge and €25,000 worth of prizemoney. The invitational only, one-day event has until the end of March to ensure flawless conditions and a minimum wave size of 6 to 8 feet.
Californian Dane Reynolds, who recently announced that he will not be competing on the 2012 ASP World Tour, jumped at the chance to be a part of the inaugural event. "I'm really stoked to be invited to the Billabong Mundaka Challenge and am mainly looking forward to getting tubed," said Reynolds. Pressed for a favourite from the elite 18-man field, Reynolds nominated Occy as the biggest threat.
Occy won the Mundaka Billabong Pro in 1999 on the way to his world title and first surfed the
famous rivermouth more than 30 years ago. "Mundaka holds a special part in my heart, both the wave and the people of the town. It's truly an honour just to surf there, let alone with these other amazing surfers. You'd need wild horses to keep me away from this," said Occhillupo.
Like Occy, Luke Egan is another former Mundaka Pro winner that will be making the journey from Australia's Gold Coast. "It's an amazing town and an amazing wave and it deserves a speciality event like this to showcase how magical it is," said Egan. "To rock up and surf when it's pumping with some of your heroes and the best guys that have ever been out there is going to be unreal."
Joining the six invited international surfers will be Europeans Benjamin Sanchis, Eric Rebiere, Miky Picon, Marc Lacomare, Reubyn Ash and Fergal Smith, all known for their ability in heavy conditions and tubing waves.
Rounding out the 18 man field will be six of the best local Basque surfers, Hodei Collazo, Aritz Aramburu, Iker Fuentes, Eneko Acero, Inaki Urkidi, plus the winner of the Mundaka tubes online contest at www.mundakatubes.biz. With their combined local knowledge and talent it's entirely possible that one of these surfers could make history at their legendary homebreak.
The 2012 Billabong Mundaka Challenge is presented by Sony Ericsson and supported by Monster Energy, the town and surf club of Mundaka and the Basque Surfing Federation (EHSF).