Xcellent Roctober

Gary Kewley
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Friday - October 27, 2006
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Three-time Xcel Pro winner and ultimate power surfer, local boy Pancho Sullivan, at Sunset Beach
Three-time Xcel Pro winner and ultimate power surfer, local boy Pancho Sullivan, at Sunset Beach

All right, surfers and beach-goers!

The waves on all shores have rocked as we near the end of Roctober 2006. This means the time is very near for the official kick-off event of professional big wave competition on the famed North Shore. That event is the 2006 Xcel Pro at Sunset Beach, presented by No Fear. Coincidently, both companies have names which accurately describe what surfers must have to do well in this event: Winners must be “Xcel-lent” surfers with “No Fear” in the jacking waves of Sunset Beach.

Ed D’Ascoli, creator of the annual event and Xcel Wetsuits, loves to score the best Sunset has to offer: In the last 23 years he’s built a reputation for doing just that. But Ed’s focus is on the current year’s fortune, and you can bet he’s worrying ... in a good way. It’s healthy and keeps him (and everyone) on their toes.

The main idea is harnessing the raw power of Mother Nature ... and giving the boys their chance to shine. If Sunset isn’t 8, 10 or 12 feet and “throwing” big buckets down upon its challengers, well ... you lose something. Make no mistake, we want BIG WAVES! It’s being called “a power surf event.” You will know if it’s on or off every single day by 7 a.m. on SURFNEWSNETWORK.COM, 596-SURF, 596-WAVE and 638-RUSH.

We’ll have about two weeks (Oct. 27-Nov. 10) to complete three days of main competition.

The Xcel Pro is a 4-star Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) contest. This means every WQS event counts toward the ultimate goal of all aspiring pro surfers: to gain a place in the World Championship Tour (WCT) top 44! The Xcel Pro promises to offer amateurs and seasoned pros alike the chance to try new board designs and strategies as North Shore swells pick up in late October. SurfingLive will produce the online webcast of live competition action, using state-of-theart live water-cam technology. Greg and Steve Murphy and the entire SurfingLive crew truly put out the best in surf-cam quality ... it’s inspiring to have a local company doing it world class. Just log on to XCELWETSUITS.COM with the rest of our blue planet. Media and sponsors will also get in on the ride as $75,000 in prize money and valuable points are up for grabs going into the Triple Crown of

Surfing, the final ASP contests of 2006. Stoked!

By the way, three-time world champ Andy Irons won the Xcel Pro in 1997. I recall watching him surf to the beach that day on “Val’s reef” inside Sunset and noticing something special in his control ... even on the small stuff, in-between maneuvers, he had something very special.

Who’s it going to be this year? Let’s watch together.

It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that this is the 23rd Xcel Pro and the 33rd Triple Crown of Surfing. But there are always those two main gifts we can count on year after year ... the steady supply of great waves and great wave riders. These combinations lead to memorable moments inspiring surfers and non-surfers alike. For me, the epic moments and memories get richer with each passing year.

I’ll catch you in the water, at the Xcel Pro and back here next week in MidWeek! Aloha!

GQ,dropping in 4 U!

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