The world's best big wave surfers are back on call as the ASP kicks off the second half of the 2014/2015 Big Wave World Tour (BWWT) season. With a window running from October 15, 2014 to February 28, 2015, the second half of the season focuses on the Northern Hemisphere swell cycle with the potential of running three world-class events at some of the most dangerous locations on the planet.
â€œWe're excited to get the Northern Hemisphere season underway,â€ said Peter Mel, ASP Big Wave Commissioner. â€œWe've seen a unique weather pattern over the summer, which bodes well for an active upcoming season. All the signs are there so we're very hopeful.â€
The Todos Santos Challenge in Mexico, the Punta Galea Challenge in the Basque Country, and the Pe'ahi Challenge in Maui, Hawaii comprise the Northern Hemisphere half of the 2014/2015 BWWT season. An expert meteorological team from Surfline, ASP's official forecaster, will track swell systems daily, searching for conditions that will produce waves of 25 feet or bigger.
â€œThe Northern Hemisphere season has finally arrived and anticipation is high,â€ said ASP BWWT Vice President Gary Linden. â€œThe green light will go to the first one of the three events to deliver the required 25-foot-plus waves.
â€œPunta Galea has been very consistent two years in a row, while we have not run an event at Todos Santos for four years. I'm confident that Punta Galea will continue its great run and I'm hopeful that this will be the year Todos Santos delivers. To round out the season with a never-before-seen paddle-in event at Pe'ahi, Maui, is the goal of a lifetime. Let the storms begin!â€
Should the Pe'ahi Challenge run this season, it will be the first-ever paddle-in event at the renowned big-wave break. The BWWT team will be watching for big winter storms pushing through the Western portion of the North Pacific and calm winds from the South to create the ideal conditions for the event to be called on.
Sixty miles south of the US border and nine miles off the coast of Mexico lies Killers, the venue for the Todos Santos Challenge. Drawing off the energy of the Pacific Northwest, the right swell from the Gulf of Alaska could see the contest run this season.
Although fairly new to the schedule, Punta Galea delivered some of the best rides on last year's BWWT. The North Atlantic is already experiencing significant swell activity and with the right direction future swells could produce the 25-foot-plus waves needed for the contest to happen.
The Southern Hemisphere season ran from April 15 to August 31, 2014 with scheduled events in Chile, Peru and South Africa. Of those, Peru's coast was the only one to see wave heights reach the minimum requirement, and saw the Billabong Pico Alto run in epic conditions July 3. Hawaiian Makua Rothman claimed his first ASP BWWT victory there, in 40-foot waves. With one event completed this season, the Hawaiian leads the BWWT rankings heading into the second half of the season.
The $100,000 combined prize money from the two events that did not run -- the Dungeons Challenge and the Quiksilver Ceremonial -- has been rolled over to the upcoming contests. Both the Punta Galea Challenge and the Todos Santos Challenge have been upgraded to $75,000 prize purses and the Pe'ahi Challenge prize money has been pushed up to $100,000. Should any of the three remaining BWWT events not run, remaining total prize money will be distributed among the Top 10 finishers at the end of the 2014/2015 season.
The 24-man fields for the Northern Hemisphere events are comprised of the Top 12 seeded ASP BWWT surfers plus six ASP BWWT Wildcards and six Local Wildcards. See the full BWWT rankings.
Top 12 BWWT Surfers:
1 Grant Baker (ZAF)
2 Ken Collins (USA)
3 Nic Lamb (USA)
4 Shawn Dollar (USA)
5 Kohl Christensen (HAW)
6 Alex Gray (USA)
7 Greg Long (USA)
8 Ryan Augenstein (USA)
9 Anthony Tashnick (USA)
10 Ramon Navarro (CHL)
11 Jamie Mitchell (AUS)
12 Tyler Fox (USA)
The ASP BWWT events will be webcast LIVE on the ASP homepage.