Added excitement at the currently running Jbay Open is the news today that legendary surfers Tom Curren and Mark Occhilupo will face off once again at the world-class right-hander of Jeffreys Bay.
Their encounter in the waves at Supertubes is the first instalment of the ASP Heritage Series, running in conjunction with the J-Bay Open, Stop No. 6 of 11 on the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour (WCT).
Occhilupo and Curren are well known and at home in Jeffreys Bay having surfed here in previous events.
The ASP Heritage Series, making its debut this week in South Africa, is designed to celebrate and honour the foundational contributors to the sport of surfing – athletes, venues, happenings and culture. The Heritage Series will showcase rematches between iconic surfers, video profiles and sporting history as well as engage with fans, both current and new, across a variety of platforms.
“When you think of modern surfing, you’d be hard-pressed to find two surfers who have had more of an impact than Tom Curren and Mark Occhilupo,” Kieren Perrow, ASP Commissioner, said. “The ASP Heritage Series is a great initiative to honour and celebrate professional surfing’s pioneers and icons and tie the sport firmly to its foundations. We’re all very excited to have Tom and Mark here in South Africa and very much looking forward to seeing them surf.”
Occhilupo, originally from the Sydney suburb of Kurnel, soon advanced to the surfing centre of Cronulla before exploding onto the national scene as a prodigious teenager. The ‘Raging Bull’s’ full-speed approach and unparalleled power proved revolutionary as the goofy-footer’s rose up the international rankings.
At 18-years young, Occhilupo redefined backhand surfing at Jeffreys Bay, claiming the Country Feeling Classic in 1984. The following two decades would see a dizzying rise and fall from grace for the passionate Australian before mounting one of the more impressive comebacks in sports history, claiming the ASP World Title in 1999.
“It’s a very special thing to be back here in South Africa and preparing for another match with Tom (Curren),” Occhilupo said. “From Bells Beach to Huntington Beach and certainly Jeffreys Bay, Tom and I have had a very fun and colourful history in competition with one another. To be honest, it’s just a real honour that the ASP and the world’s best surfers would have us here in this fashion. It’s very humbling and I hope we can put on a good show for everyone.”
Curren, from California’s Santa Barbara, rose to prominence in the 1980s and 1990s utilizing a point-break-honed style on the international stage and collecting three ASP World Titles (1985, 1986, 1990). Universally-regarded as one of the most stylish surfers ever to step foot on board, Curren’s impact on the sport of surfing, both in and out of the competition jersey, cannot be overstated.
“J-Bay has been pretty important to both our careers, mine from the ‘Search’ films and Mark from competition,” Curren said. “It’s fantastic to be back here and I’m excited about having a heat out there with Occ (Occhilupo). Hopefully the waves pump for everyone this week.”
The first instalment of the ASP Heritage Series can run as early as July 12, 2014, but will have opportunity to run at any point during the competition window which runs through to 21 July, 2014.
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