After an extremely successful broadcast of the Rip Curl Pro Search in Portugal earlier this year, the good guys at FuelTV are gearing up to bring the final four days from the years most anticipated event to all it’s lucky viewers live. The competition waiting period starts Wednesday December 9th (AEDST) and will see Rip Curl’s Mick Fanning facing off against Billabong’s Joel Parkinson. Check below for the full press release from the guys.
AUSSIE WORLD SURFING CHAMPION TO BE CROWNED LIVE ON FUEL TV
FUEL TV will be on location to exclusively deliver Australian surfing fans their 2009 World Champion with LIVE coverage of the Billabong Pipeline Masters from Hawaii.
Hot on the heels of a successful LIVE surfing debut with coverage of last month’s Rip Curl Pro Search in Portugal, Fuel TV will present a comprehensive LIVE broadcast of the deciding event of the 2009 ASP World Surfing Tour from December 9.
Adding to the significance of this historic broadcast, LIVE coverage of the Hawaii event will feature a guaranteed local triumph with Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson locked in a two-way battle for the world surfing title.
Fanning, the 2007 World Champion and current world number one, continued his hot recent form by securing a third tour victory of the season in Portugal, building on his narrow lead over the second-ranked Parkinson.
The 28-year-old pair, born just two months apart, grew up together and competed on the breaks of the Coolangatta-Tweed Heads area where they headed up a group of local surfers known as the ‘Cooly Kids’.
Over the past eight years their rivalry has extended into the professional ranks whilst traveling the world together on the ASP Tour, where they have also continued their close friendship out of the surf.
But in just over a fortnight on Ohau’s north shore, only one of them can win the 2009 world title.
Just 368 points separate the pair as the tour hits its final stop in Hawaii. Parkinson, the early season leader, rebounded strongly from a mid-year form slump to finish 3rd in Portugal and remain a chance to steal the crown from his life-long mate.
The event waiting period for Pipeline opens on Wednesday 9 December (AEDST) and FUEL TV will provide complete LIVE coverage of the final four days of the event.
FUEL TV Channel Manager Adam Howarth said the Billabong Pipeline Masters coverage follows a successful live broadcast of the Rip Curl Pro Search in Portugal.
“After dipping our toe in the water at the Portugal event, we were blown away by the reaction we got from FUEL TV viewers who were obviously thrilled to see surfing LIVE on their televisions,” said Howarth.
“We had a stack of emails and phone calls from viewers and this reaction confirmed our belief that the Australian surfing public were thirsty for surfing to be broadcast in the same fashion as the mainstream sports they are used to seeing.
The Hawaii event will be delivered in favourable times for Australian viewers, with each day’s coverage scheduled to begin after sunrise in Australia.
“The timing of this historic event has worked out well considering there are two Aussies fighting it out for the world title, and the time difference between Australia and Hawaii means that our LIVE broadcast will be going to air from around 6am and continuing throughout the day until just after lunch time – perfect for surfers and mainstream viewers alike,” said Howarth.
Howarth added that former world surfing champion and FUEL TV’s own Mark Occhilupo will be in Hawaii as part of the broadcast.
“Given this is a Billabong event it will be great to hear FUEL TV host Mark Occhilupo’s expert commentary as well. Occy works on the coverage of other Billabong events as well and his insights are fantastic to listen to whether you have only a passing interest in surfing, or you’re a long time surfer,” he said.
The commencement of FUEL TV’s coverage of the final four days of the event will be dependant on weather and swell conditions.
“Because we are in the hands of the ocean, there are few sports as tricky as surfing from a live broadcasting perspective,” said Howarth.
“However given the awesome support of Billabong and Vans for this event, FUEL TV hopes to build on our coverage of LIVE surfing events and deliver the sport more regularly to our viewers.”
“For a million different reasons surfing is one of the best sports in the world, and we are very excited about the opportunity to be able to tell that story to the Australian sporting public.”
Fuel TV’s 2009 Billabong Pipeline Masters coverage is available to both FOXTEL and AUSTAR subscribers. Daily highlights of the event will be available on the FUEL TV website, www.fueltv.com.au.
2009 BILLABONG PIPELINE MASTERS
Wednesday 9 – Monday 21 December, 2009*
*LIVE coverage of final four days of competition