September 5, 2015

Red Bull Unleashed Confirms Athlete List

We’ve seen the artists renderings for decades. You know, the ones that show a crowded stadium of surf fans watching a professional surfing contest go down in a wavepool. Well it’s finally going to happen! Always at the forefront of new endeavors in the action sport world, Red Bull announced that it had confirmed it’s list of surfers for the first event of it’s kind – the Red Bull Unleashed. The event will take place at the new Wavegarden facility at Surf Snowdonia in North Wales, UK on September 18th and 19th.

The Wavegarden Lagoon at Surf Snowdonia, Wales, UK.

The unique technology of the Wavegarden will allow surfers to compete on a wave that will generally be the same every time. This will level the playing field as surfers won’t have to catch the best wave of the heat or have the best knowledge of the ocean or a particular break to win. The performance will be the focus. Maneuvers, and combinations of maneuvers will be rewarded. Surfers will compete in five head-to-head, wave-for-wave heats, the winner advancing to the next round. This format is completely different than typical surfing contests held in the ocean.

Being a maneuver based event, it makes sense that they invited some of the best young talent in the surfing world. The 24-man list of competitors feature new school aerial masters like Albee Layer, Evan Gieselman, Kalani David, and Jack Freestone. Power surfers like Ezekiel Lau and Marc Lacomare will be keeping it on rail. Four of the 24 surfers will be from the UK including British standout Reubyn Ash and Alan Stokes.

Brit pro surfer Alan Stokes has won every UK event that there is. Could the guy with the raddest last name ever win at Snowdonia? Photo by Nick Pumphrey.

The unique stadium setting will allow 2500 fans to watch the event. While there have been wavepool contests in the past, none of them match the quality of Wavegarden’s surf, and none have had so much enthusiasm from the pros. “The wave looks so fun,” said Italian entrant Leo Fioravanti. “Just to surf it sounds amazing but to compete in it sounds even better. It’s going to be amazing hanging with all the boys, especially with this being the first event of its kind.”

Red Bull has also curated an eclectic mix of judges. Former Pipe Master Jake Paterson, former WCT runner-up and XXL winner Brad Gerlach, and European legend Alain Riou will be on hand to ensure proper scoring for technical maneuvers and power surfing. “The potential is there for some crazy performances to go down,” said Paterson in a Red Bull interview. “With a stacked talent roster from around the world, bringing names you never normally see in competition, surf fans are in for a real show.”

Jared Howse films UK ripper Oli Adams. Oli will be one of four surfers from the British Isles invited to compete in Red Bull Unleashed. Photo by Nick Pumphrey.

An event of this kind ushers in a new era of competitive surfing that has been conceptualized for years. Depending on it’s success, this event will be a catalyst to promote surfing in the Olympics. The International Surfing Association and the International Olympic Committee have been more that thrilled at Wavegarden’s advancements in wave generating technology and see this as an opportunity to bring surfing to the Olympic stage.

For more info or to get tickets, click here.


Jack Freestone (AUS)
Kanoa Igarashi (USA)
Kalani David (HAW)
Slade Prestwich (ZAF)
Yadin Nicol (AUS)
Dillion Perillo (USA)
Mitch Crews (AUS)
Billy Stairmand (NZL)
Marc Lacomare (FRA)
Ian Crane (USA)
Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Jayce Robinson (GBR)
Reubyn Ash (GBR)
Albee Layer (HAW)
Kai Hing (AUS)
Brendon Gibbens (ZAF)
Mikey Wright (AUS)
Luke Davis (USA)
Hiroto Arai (JPN)
Ezekiel Lau (HAW)
Evan Geiselman (USA)
Ian Gouveia (BRA)
Oli Adams (GBR)
Alan Stokes (GBR)


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