Shark Island Challenge: you're never unprotected here

Now in its 14th year, the Fluidzone Shark Island Challenge is a one day invitational event held at Shark Island, an exposed rocky outcrop located one hundred metres off the coast of Cronulla, New South Wales.

Shark Island is infamous amongst the surfing community as one of the most dangerous waves in the world. The Fluidzone Shark Island Challenge will provide spectators with incredible visuals as the riders negotiate a sharp, shallow reef that regularly breaks bones and bodies. The event has a one-month waiting period to select the most optimum conditions, and will be held on the best day of waves between June 14th and July 14th.

Two-time World Bodyboarding Champion and two-time winner of the Shark Island Challenge Ben Player has competed in all but one of the previous fourteen Challenges, and is excited about this year's event.

"Shark Island is one of the reasons I bodyboard. As a child I would stare at images of the waves out there and dream."

"For me, the Shark Island event is the epitome of competitive bodyboarding," said Player.

The 2010 Fluidzone Shark Island Challenge sees a new contest director, in the shape of former competitor and Cronulla local Alex Leon.

"We've launched a brand new competition format for 2010, that gives us the opportunity to complete the entire event in just one day. Fourteen riders have been invited from industry sponsors, and we will also have two wild card entries. So far the reaction has been outstanding with all invitational positions filled by leading industry brands," Leon said.

The remaining two wild card entries will be offered to the general public through the Brett Young Shark Island Trials. This preliminary event is held in the memory of Brett Young, a former Shark Island local who died tragically in a car accident in 2001. The 2010 Brett Young Shark Island Trials will be held at Cronulla Point during the best surfing conditions between June 11th and June 13th.

The Fluidzone Shark Island Challenge will be webcast live on Fluidzone's website, and editor Phil Gallagher is preparing for a busy month of bodyboarding action as the event draws near.

"The Fluidzone webcast team had great success broadcasting the Turbo Pipe Pro in February this year, so the next obvious step for us was to present an event like the Shark Island Challenge. We're looking forward to rolling out some great camera angles for the webcast, and hope to solidify Fluidzone as the leading media outlet for bodyboarding."

Event organisers are optimistic that the Fluidzone Shark Island Challenge will deliver excellent waves this year's competition. Surf forecaster Ben Matson from Swellnet expects to see some challenging conditions during the waiting period.

"This year's waiting period is positioned inside the prime swell month for Shark Island. We're already seeing a seasonal change in the weather patterns in our favour, and I'm confident that we'll have a couple of quality swells to choose from."

"In fact, this weekend is expected to deliver an incredible warm-up swell for the competitors. A deep Tasman low is generating a large south-easterly swell that will generate 6ft - 8ft (2m - 3m) waves at Shark Island on Saturday, so we'll probably see a lot of the competitors out in the water re-familiarising themselves with the break under these conditions," said Matson.

The 2010 SIC is an IBA Speciality event and as such will be eligible for IBA contracted riders to take part. No world tour points will be awarded.

COMPETITOR LIST:

Ben Player (2 x SIC winner)
Adam Smith
Jason Finlay
John Showell
Glen Sullivan
Damian King (1 x SIC winner)
Thomas Robinson
Brenden Newton
Dave Winchester
Ryan Hardy (1 x SIC winner)
Jared Houston
Shaun Pyne
Michael Novy
Andrew Lester


SOURCE: IBA World Tour