- WSL / Sean Rowland
- WSL / Sean Rowland

The Founders' Cup of Surfing presented by Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold will run May 5 - 6, 2018, making history as the first public event at the world-famous Surf Ranch facility in Lemoore, California and the iconic organizing members of professional surfing, after which the Founders' Cup is named, are weighing in on the event.

World Champions Shaun Tomson of South Africa and Kelly Slater of the USA talking at the Future Classic in Lemoore, CA, USA Shaun Tomson and Kelly Slater at Surf Ranch. - WSL / Kenneth Morris

Informally recognized during last season's test event at the Surf Ranch facility, the WSL is proud to celebrate the following seven individuals as key founders of the sport ahead of this May's event:

● Fred Hemmings (HAW): 1968 World Champion, IPS Co-Founder
● Randy Rarick (HAW): IPS Co-Founder, Triple Crown of Surfing Co-Founder
● Peter Townend (AUS): 1976 World Champion, Founding Member of APSA
● Shaun Tomson (ZAF): 1977 World Champion
● Wayne Bartholomew (AUS): 1978 World Champion, Dream Tour Architect
● Mark Richards (AUS): Four-Time World Champion (1979 - 1982)
● Ian Cairns (AUS): Co-Founder APSA, Smirnoff and Duke Winner, ASP Architect

Fred Hemmings of Hawaii and  Raimana Van Bastolaer of Tahiti at the Future Classic in Lemoore, CA, USA Fred Hemmings with Raimana Van Bastolaer at the Surf Ranch. - WSL / Kenneth Morris

"Surfing is steeped in an impressive amount of history and heritage," said Sophie Goldschmidt, WSL CEO. "These seven individuals were instrumental to organizing professional surfing from its infancy through to where it is today and we're very excited to celebrate their ongoing vital relationships with the sport and culture of surfing."

The Surf Ranch facility, which was revealed online to the public in December 2015, boasts the best man-made wave in history -- a 700-yard, high-performance, bi-directional wave featuring barrel sections and maneuver sections.

Primarily existing as a testing facility, the Lemoore site has spent the past two years dialing in the technology under the guidance of 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater and feedback from visiting WSL surfers. A private test event last September proved very successful, paving the way for the May Founders' Cup of Surfing and the Surf Ranch Championship Tour event in September.

Randy Rarick of Hawaii surfing at the Future Classic in Lemoore, CA, USA Randy Rarick at Surf Ranch. - WSL / Sean Rowland

"The Surf Ranch is the logical extension of planned surf competitions," Randy Rarick said. "From a logistical point of view, it allows the WSL to bring the surf to the fans. It is a dream wave that can now be enjoyed by all."

"I think the Kelly Slater Surf Ranch is groundbreaking, they've developed a magical perfect wave and while you can never replace the challenge of nature's surf, to me it's just another challenge as a surfer to catch some waves there and try to rip it," Peter Townend said. "It's another great surf spot/location and I surely haven't heard too many say they don't want the chance to surf it."

A first for the world's best surfers, the continental co-ed teams event will see a cross-section of the world's best surfers battling it out for the public at the world's most high-performance man-made wave.

Fred Hemmings and Peter Townend, circa 1976. Fred Hemmings and Peter Townend, circa 1976. - WSL

"Surfing for your country is really a cool experience and having a team to support is different and engaging for and athlete in an individual sport," Ian Cairns said. "It also strengthens the bond between the male and female team members...both the men and the women have to win to help the team win. That is such a cool thing and I'm really looking forward to seeing how the teams perform in May."

"I have always advocated a "Davis Cup" style event and I applaud WSL for combining the world's best men and women in the one event," Wayne Bartholomew said. "The line-up of superstars is mindblowing!"

"Professional surfing has grown beyond my expectation," Fred Hemmings said. "I believe the next big step in the evolution of professional surfing will come about because of wave generation technology such as Kelly Slater‘s wave ranch."

In addition to interacting with Founders' Cup attendees for autograph sessions, photo opportunities and story sessions for the public, the Founders will be showcasing their timeless surfing ability in a special exhibition session during the event.

Presenting sponsor, Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold, is made with sustainably sourced organic grains and features ingredients free from artificial colors and flavoring. Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold was born from a commitment to innovate using ingredients and inspiration from nature.

The WSL Founders' Cup of Surfing presented by Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold will take place from May 5 - 6, 2018. Tickets available at WSLFoundersCup.com.

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