Tube riders eye the left barrels of the Mundaka Challenge

November 22, 2011 | Surfing
Mundaka: going left, left, left

The world's best tube riders will be heading to Spain for the inaugural Billabong Mundaka Challenge. The new event has a three-month waiting period starting from 15th January 2012 and demands flawless conditions and a minimum wave size of 6 to 8 feet.

The 2012 Mundaka Challenge will be a one-day historic surf contest in Europe. The iconic town of Mundaka, in the Basque Country, is known as one of the most perfect and picturesque waves in the world

"Billabong in collaboration with the Mundaka Surf Club wanted to run an event that would show the true potential of what the Mundaka wave has to offer," said Sam Carrier, the Billabong Europe Mens Marketing Manager.

"The town is a magical place and the wave is one of the best lefts in the world. We can wait for that perfect day and show the world some of the crazy tube rides that Mundaka is famous for."

The invitee only event will see six international and six European tube riding specialists competing against six Basque surfers, two of which will be chosen by the Mundaka Surf Club.

An innovative format is in place with surfers initially competing in hour-long six man heats. Depending on conditions, a six man final will then either be held on the primary event day or the following day with the winner pocketing €15,000 in prize money.

With competitors judged solely on their best two tube rides, the invite list is made up of a who’s who of barrel riders, Mundaka specialists and previous Billabong Pro winners.

One surfer who falls into all those categories is Mark "Occy" Occhilupo. Occy won the Mundaka Billabong Pro in 1999 on his way to the world title and has a special affinity with the wave.

"When you are standing in the barrel at Mundaka looking out at the mountains it's like time stands still. It definitely has to be one of the best barrels in the world," said Occy. "To have it back with the Mundaka Challenge is absolutely epic."