Laird Hamilton

H2O Audio, the leading watersports music company, announced today that Laird Hamilton has officially been appointed to its Board of Directors.

As a member of the Board, Hamilton will be strategically guiding the company with marketing its brand and developing its next generation of surf/music products.

"I have been a proponent of the company for several years, and I am really looking forward to infusing my passion for watersports and music into the future of the H2O Audio brand," said Laird Hamilton.

Kristian Rauhala, CEO of H2O Audio added, "Laird is the world's best waterman and is a perfect fit for our brand. Laird has been using our products for the past couple of years and kept reaching out to us with tons of great feedback. We are now stoked to have Laird officially part of our company as a Board Member and as a World Class Ambassador for the H2O Audio brand. With Laird on the Board, I am sure this will be one wild ride."

Hamilton's appointment follows the company's September 2007 signing of US Olympic Gold Medal Swimmer and World Record holder, Natalie Coughlin, as their top swim/music gear advisor.

About Laird Hamilton:

Regarded as the world's greatest big wave surfer of all time, Hamilton helped create the watersport of "tow-in surfing" which enable him to catch, ride and conquer waves reaching heights of 70 ft (21m). Hamilton is also credited with inventing the "foilboard" and was a pioneer in popularizing kitesurfing. Today, he is a practitioner of stand-up paddling and continues to push the outer boundaries of watersports.

Source: H2O

Jamie O'Brien

Hawaiian surfer Jamie O’Brien was announced today as the big winner at the first-ever Billabong Freewave Challenge, capturing both First and Second Place in the Best Performance Ride category and collecting a whopping $14,444.43 for two waves’ work. 

O’Brien, a key proponent of “free-surfing” as performed outside of regular competitive formats and judging criteria, was voted number one by his peers for his “Rodeo Flip,” a backside aerial maneuver combining an inverted flip and a 360 degree turn with both hands grabbing the rails.

That single ride earned a check for $9999,99. O’Brien’s second place ride was a “Freak Out Turn” featuring a hard carve into a forward flip with a half twist.

O’Brien accepted his trophy and checks at his home overlooking the Pipeline break and said, “Free-surfing is one of the most important things about the North Shore.  The contests don’t always have good waves and in the end people remember the tube or the year or the best maneuver of the year.

It can happen any day or any second. This year the waves were not the best for a lot of the regular contests, but the winter goes on for months so there will always be epic moments in an event like the Freewave Challenge.”

O’Brien is looking forward to defending his Billabong Freewave Challenge crown.

“I think the Freewave Challenge can be the future for free surfing as more and more surfers get into it and post more and more video clips,” added O’Brien.  “I think it could be a monster, we could raise some animals. It can inspire surfers to go to the next level.  I don’t want to wiggle to the beach, I want to go off — and I think there are a lot of guys who feel the same way.”

Winning the Best Tube Ride Award was Timmy Reyes of Huntington Beach, California for what was widely regarded as the wave of the year on the North Shore of Oahu.

Reyes waited three hours on one of the best days of the winter for the perfect barrel to come to him, and it paid off in glorious fashion.  Reyes was awarded a check for $5,555.55 for his great escape.

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ASP Women 2008

The best female surfers in the world are diligently preparing for the opening event of the 2008 ASP Women’s World Tour season, the Roxy Pro Gold Coast, running from Feb. 23 through Mar. 6, 2008.

Chelsea Georgeson (AUS), former ASP Women’s World Champion and defending Roxy Pro Champion, will be absent from competition this season as she prepares for the birth of her first child.  Georgeson’s absence ensures that the Roxy Pro will see a new champion this year and the ASP Top 17 will all be vying for a solid result to kick start their respective 2008 campaigns.

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), reigning ASP Women’s World Champion and into her sophomore season on the Dream Tour, won the Roxy Pro Gold Coast as a wildcard in 2005, finished equal 5th place last year.  The phenomenal natural-footer will be looking to open up her ASP World Title defense this season will a solid finish in her home beaches of the Gold Coast.

“I’ve just been relaxing a lot and I suppose I am still taking it all in from last year’s win,” Gilmore said.  “I’m pretty confident heading into the Roxy Pro as it’s right here at home, and I have just been surfing a lot – surfing a lot at Snapper and a bit at D’Bah.  I’ve just got a fresh batch of boards from my shaper, Darren Handley, so I’ve been working pretty hard at getting those sorted out.”

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