Kelly Slater is testing new  

Kelly Slater is debuting a new Channel Islands surfboard at the 2009 Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay.

It is called "The Manta Ray" and has a total different nose and shape.

The new Kelly Slater's testing surfboard is inspired by hydrodynamics of the manta ray, as well as a mix between the Tangent and Wizard Sleeve models.

If it works, "The Manta Ray" will be one of the oddest surf shapes of the last years.

Kelly Slater has been testing a wide variety of surf quiver for a long time.

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New lay day in the 2009 Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bays 

Competition has been called off once again at the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay with only small two-to-three (1 metre) waves on offer at the iconic pointbreak.

Event No. 5 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay has opted not to run this morning due to inconsistent conditions, but improved swell models are now providing a better outlook for the coming days.

“There’s not much on offer this morning so we’ve called competition off,” Mike Parsons, Billabong Pro Contest Director, said. “The swell models we’ve been tracking have moved a bit more south so we could have waves as early as tomorrow."

The Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay has the option to run either the traditional or new competition formats, as well as utilize the overlapping heats tem for either. Event organizers will determine which format they will use in accordance with the conditions.

Yesterday saw the completion of the VonZipper Trials, where Devyn Mattheys (ZAF) Heath Joske (AUS) and Torrey Meister (HAW) were victorious in their three respective heats, earning wildcard berths into the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay.

The other two wildcards have been awarded to Shaun Holmes (ZAF), 31, and Ryan Payne (ZAF), 26.

The waiting period for the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay runs through July 19, 2009.

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The Surf and Skate industry has survived the global economic crisis

The surf/skate industry is showing notable resiliency during recent global economic challenges, posting U.S. retail sales of $7.22 billion in 2008 according to the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA). In a third-party research study conducted by the Leisure Trends Group (LTG) and commissioned by SIMA, the 2008 SIMA Retail Distribution Study, findings released today indicate that the surf industry is holding strong.

The study indicates that the surf industry experienced a slight dip in 2008 with retail sales hitting the $7.22 billion mark compared to $7.48 billion in 2006 (a 3.5% decrease). Softness was most apparent in the fourth quarter of 2008, coinciding with the global economic indicators of that time. However, the surf industry has shown substantial growth of 10% for the last five years. The SIMA Retail Distribution Study is conducted biannually, and launched in 2004 with findings showing U.S. surf/skate retail sales at $6.52 billion at that time.

“While the surf/skate retail industry is not immune to the downward pressure on retail sales nationwide caused by the global recession, the resiliency of the surf/skate industry is very positive and promising,” says Doug Palladini, SIMA President and Vice President of Marketing for Vans. “Powerful brands with close connections to their consumers will see us through these challenging times and put us in a strong position as the overall economy rebounds.”  

The 2008 SIMA Retail Distribution Study cites several key factors as driving the overall consistency of the surf industry, including: loyalty of core surfers and skaters to the lifestyle and sport; and, the increasing demand for surf/skate footwear and accessories as evidenced by the double-digit growth of these key categories.

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