Local favorite, China’s Darci Liu. Photo ASP/Will H-S.

Swatch continues it’s expansion to supporting women in surfing with their recent announcement that it will be the title sponsors of this season’s Trestles Women’s Pro.

“We’re delighted to further our involvement in surfing to the World Championship level and are really excited about extending the reach of our surfing events to North America,” Marco Vaccari, Head of Marketing International at Swatch, said. “Women’s surfing continues to push the boundaries of performance, gaining an ever-wider audience, so we’re thrilled to further align our brand values alongside this youthful, progressive, exciting sport.”

The inaugural Swatch Girls Pro France was held in Seignosse-Hossegor in 2010, while in 2011, Swatch made history by bringing international professional surfing to China for the first time with the Swatch Girls Pro China. In 2014, surf fans will witness the addition of the Swatch Women’s Pro Trestles which will be added to the stellar lineup of Gold Coast, Margaret River, Bells Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Fiji, Huntington Beach, Hossegor, Cascais and Maui.

Held from September 9 – 20, 2014, the Swatch Women’s Pro Trestles will be the seventh stop on the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP Women’s World Championship Tour (WCT) – an elite 10-event series held around the world to determine the ASP Women’s World Champion. Complementing the Swatch Girls Pro France 2014 (August 20 – 24), an ASP 6-Star Qualification Series (QS) event now in its fifth year, today’s announcement reaffirms Swatch’s ongoing support of women’s surfing.

“Our commitment to the sport is putting the world’s best surfers in the world’s best waves and showcasing that for our international fan base,” Paul Speaker, ASP CEO, said. “It’s fantastic to have Swatch come on board and support women’s surfing with the sponsorship of the Trestles event in 2014.  The ASP Top 17 have been in sensational form this season and the continued opportunities to perform in quality surf, as they will at the Swatch Women’s Pro Trestles, will continue to push the performance bar to new heights.”

Universally regarded as one of the most high-performance waves on the planet, Southern California’s Lower Trestles has hosted an elite men’s ASP WCT event, the Hurley Pro at Trestles, for the past 15 years and the Swatch Women’s Pro Trestles will join the ASP Top 17 with the ASP Top 34 from September 9 – 20, 2014.

Lower Trestles – the crown jewel of Southern California high-performance surfing – will host the world’s best female surfers this September for the Swatch Women’s Pro Trestles.

Southern Californian and reigning two-time Swatch Girls Pro France winner Courtney Conlogue will represent the local area at the Swatch Women’s Pro Trestles, a venue she has ample experience at.

“I’m so excited that Swatch is bringing the Trestles event to the WCT,” Conlogue said. “I can’t wait to surf against all the best women surfers in the world at one of my all-time favorite spots and in front of all my friends and family.”

2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP Women’s World Championship Tour includes:

  • Roxy Pro Gold Coast – March 1 – 12, 2014 (won by Stephanie Gilmore)
  • Drug Aware Margaret River Pro – April 2 – 13, 2014 (won by Carissa Moore)
  • Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach – April 16 – 27, 2014 (won by Carissa Moore)
  • Rio Women’s Pro presented by Billabong – May 7 – 18, 2014
  • Fiji Women’s Pro – May 25 – 30, 2014
  • Vans US Open of Surfing – July 27 – August 3, 2014
  • Swatch Women’s Pro Trestles – September 9 – 20, 2014
  • Roxy Pro France – September 23 – 29, 2014
  • Cascais Women’s Pro – October 1 – 7, 2014
  • Maui Women’s Pro – November 24 – December 6, 2014
South African Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker – reigning ASP BWWT Champion.
Photo: Richard Hallman.

ASP International Buys Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards
Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) International announced this week the acquisition of the Billabong XXL ® Big Wave Awards. Following this 2014 event, the XXL Big Wave Awards will enter into a fresh ownership with ASP which will see the popular action sports property expand its reach and co-sponsorship opportunities well into the future while Billabong maintains a key naming rights position.  Ushering in this acquisition, the ASP is pleased to partner with the group on this week’s Billabong XXL Awards on Friday, May 2, 2014.

Held annually at the Grove Theatre in Anaheim, the Billabong XXL Awards has traditionally honored a cross-section of big wave accolades, including: Paddle Award, Biggest Wave Award, Men’s and Women’s Performance Award, Wipeout Award, Biggest Tube Award and the top-line Ride of the Year. This year’s XXL Awards will also incorporate the official crowning of last season’s ASP BWWT Champion – South African Grant “Twiggy” Baker.

“This is a night to celebrate big wave surfing and we’re very pleased on the partnership between Billabong XXL and the BWWT Awards and the acquisition of the XXL Property,” Paul Speaker, ASP CEO, said. “This is a platform to honor the brave men and women who dedicate their lives to the art of big wave surfing and we are honored to continue this tradition in future years.”

A truly global event, historic XXL entries have come from Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Tahiti, Fiji, Australia, South Africa, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, France, Morocco, Canary Islands, Azores — and even international waters at the Cortes Bank.

“The Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards is a progressive event that has been instrumental in elevating the profile of big wave surfers to a global audience,” explained Billabong Brand President, Shannan North. “We are extremely proud to remain a sponsorship partner in the XXL for many years to come and are confident in ASP’s ability to take the event and profile of big wave surfing to the next level.”

“The XXL Property is now in its 15th year – over this time period the event has gone off every year and over $1.5 million of prize money has been awarded to the big wave surf community,” Graham Stapelberg, ASP CMO, said. “The property has evolved over this period as the big wave surfers continued to push the boundaries from big wave tow-in surfing to going back to putting themselves at their very limits by paddling into the biggest waves ever ridden. Throughout this period of change Billabong was there supporting the big wave surfers.”

Surfline, a key partner in the XXL event since its inception in 2000, will remain in position as the official surf forecaster of the event and the sponsor of the Surfline Best Men’s Overall Performance category.

“Fifteen years ago, The XXL was all about capturing epic performances at places like Jaws, Mavericks, and Cortes, said Surfline’s CEO, Jonno Wells.  This year, surfers are chasing XXL waves beyond the North Pacific, and the event has evolved to capture and celebrate the best big wave surfing world-wide.  Surfline is honored to have been involved from the beginning and we see a natural fit for The XXL under the ASP’s wing.  We’re looking forward to working with the ASP team to continue inspiring XXL surfers, photographers, and fans around the world.”

Finally, Bill Sharp, the founder and event director for the XXL Big Wave Awards event is stoked to see his creation growing yet again and taking its place on surfing’s biggest stage.

“When I created the XXL concept in the 1990s, big wave surfing did not seem to get the respect it deserved,” said Sharp. “That was when action sports on TV was the new big thing. But I feel like the XXL Big Wave Awards, working so closely with the surfers and the photographers for the last 15 years, have helped to show the world how incredible the sport truly is and now a huge swell hitting anywhere in the world will routinely make global headlines. We have achieved a lot so far, but I think there is more work to do and I look forward to pushing hard to expand the opportunities for the sport and for all the top surfers and photographers involved.”

The Billabong XXL ASP BWWT Awards will take place Friday, May 2, 2014 at the Grove in Anaheim, Southern California. The event will be webcast LIVE via aspworldtour.com beginning at 7:45pm PST.