The young new-school talent of Julian Wilson prevailed in the third edition of The O'Neill Mission.
The edited video he put together of his highlights of the week to be judged, featured endless aerials, 360s, and even included a new-school rap soundtrack.
"I'm so blown away right now," Julian said. "It's been such a good week. We have made the best out of all the conditions we faced in France. I want to thank O'Neill for putting on such a good event."
Using the unique judging formula of The Mission, he was voted the winner by his fellow surfers, including the likes of Cory Lopez, Jarrad Howse and Michel Bourez.
"I've been looking up to these guys since I was young," Julian said. "I was just so excited to be invited to spend the week surfing with them."
Julian Wilson was also voted the winner of the Amph Progression Award by his peers, winning 2,000Euros for his relentless energy pushing the boundaries of tricks in the surf.
In a Mission-first, two surfers found themselves in equal second place. O'Neill Highland Open winner, Adam Robertson, as well as former WCT giant Cory Lopez shared the honors.
"It's been an awesome week," said Cory. "I was so stoked to come here. And I am so happy for Julian. He has been surfing amazingly all week."
Adam Robertson, in addition to finishing in joint second place, also won the first ever 'Spirit of the Mission' award, for embracing spirit of adventure of The Mission in its entirety.
"To get second here is amazing," Adam said. "I didn't even know I was going to come here until two weeks before so I hadn't set myself any expectations. I am happy for Julian. He is a great guy and a great surfer," he said.
Always the first to run into the water no matter what the conditions, Adam said: "It's nice that O'Neill recognized that I was surfing hard and having a lot of fun."
The award ceremony took place in the campsite in Les Landes in front of all who participated on The Mission, after the surfers had edited their highlights of the week and voted on every one else's videos.
Behind Julian, Adam and Cory came Tim Boal in fourth, Justin Mujica in fifth and Hugo Savalli – who even attempted Julian's signature Sushi Roll move – in sixth. Last year's winner of The Mission, Michel Bourez finished in seventh and was followed by Jarrad Howse in eighth and Ian Walsh in ninth place.
The O'Neill Mission 2008 ended its journey through France in Les Landes – travelling several hundred kilometers down the coast from Brittany after reports indicated that the south west of France was going to be picking up the best of the swell on Sunday.
The reports were right, and the nine surfers scored an uncrowded secret spot of Les Landes in front of the sand dunes and pine trees, giving it their all on the final day.
Cory Lopez was among those who pushed himself in every possible way on the final morning.
"I have seen how well Julian has been surfing all week," said Cory. "I just wanted to get in there and go for it if I was going to have a chance to win this. It was the best surf conditions we have had on The Mission so far, but I was so glad to also have got the chance to go up north and explore some of the coast I have never seen before."
Matt Wilson, the O'Neill Mission contest director also reflected the same sentiments saying; "We got the best waves in France this week. Although the conditions were not always perfect we fully embraced the spirit of adventure over the course of the week."
Travelling thousands of kilometers to explore new waves and coastline throughout France, while witnessing some of the most dynamic surfing from around the planet… this was The O'Neill Mission 2008.