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6.0 Lowers Pro Becomes First Ever ASP 6-Star PRIME on U.S. Mainland

The 6.0 Lowers Pro has upgraded to an Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star PRIME for 2009 making it the first WQS PRIME-rated event ever on Mainland U.S.A. The prestigious event, one of only three 6-Stars on the ASP North America Tour and only eight 6-Star PRIMES around the world on the 2009 schedule, will take over Lower Trestles, San Clemente, Calif. for five days of competition from April 28th to May 2nd. A field of 128 men will vie for a $145,000 prize purse, including $20,000 for first place, and the most WQS ratings points possible.

“Elevating the 6.0 Lowers Pro to a 6-Star event is a huge benefit for all North American surfers and Nike 6.0 is beyond excited to be able to facilitate this,” says Nike 6.0 surf mentor, Jason Kenworthy. “Lowers provides a world-class stage for U.S. surfers to perform and secure critical tour points. This is huge.”

Running concurrently, the ASP Grade-2 Oakley Pro Junior will see 48 juniors (20 years and younger) battling for a $10,000 prize purse and two coveted qualifying spots into the Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge Finals. This will be the only U.S. qualifier for the prominent event, which gained notoriety last year due to its massive prize purse, professional format, and high caliber of qualifier location selections.

Ben Bourgeois (Carlsbad, CA) won the inaugural ASP WQS 4-Star 6.0 Lowers Pro last year beating out an impressive list of fellow finalists: Frederick Patacchia (North Shore, HAW), Joel Centeio (North Shore, HAW) and Patrick Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA).

Although there has never been a shortage of talent on tap at the event, this year’s upgrade from a 4-Star to a 6-Star PRIME has upped the ante, ensuring the talent will be even more remarkable and giving North American surfers a crucial opportunity to earn significant points towards qualifying for the World Tour.

Originating in 2007, PRIME is the highest possible ASP rating only given to competition venues considered to be at “prime” locations. Around the world, only eight locations have been identified as worthy of the rank in 2009. Infamous Lower Trestles, known for it’s perfect wide-open faces and idyllic California setting, is the first and only Mainland U.S. location to ever warrant the grade.

Although the 6-Star PRIME prize purse is the same as for a regular 5- or 6-Star event, the field is restricted to 128 competitors, and the ratings points are increased substantially. A 6-Star PRIME allocates 3,500 points for first place compared to the 2,500 offered for a basic 6-Star event.

Prior to 2008 when Nike 6.0 took over the title sponsor position, the storied Lower Trestles event had crowned victors including nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (Cocoa Beach, FL), three-time ASP World Champion Andy Irons (North Shore, HAW), Rob Machado (Encinitas, CA), Shane Beschen (San Clemente, CA), C.J. Hobgood (Melbourne Beach, FL) and Tom Curren (Santa Barbara, CA), to name a few.

In 2008, wildcard Sebastian Zietz (Hanalei, HAW) claimed the Oakley Pro Junior title over finalists Jason Harris (Huntington Beach, CA), Travis Beckmann (Vero Beach, FL) and Dusty Payne (Lahaina, HAW), earning him a spot into the inaugural Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge Final in Bali.

This year, the Oakley Pro Junior at Lower Trestles will be the only North American qualifier for the Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge, which has become the hot ticket destination for the world’s juniors this year. That, combined with the merging of the ASP North America and ASP Hawaii regional ratings for the 2009 Pro Junior division, suggests this event will pull in the best of the best.

Both the 6.0 Lowers Pro and Oakley Pro Junior will be webcast live for all five days of competition with legendary personalities Dave Stanfield, Peter Mel, Pat O’Connell, and other surprise guests, behind the microphone.

For more information about the 6.0 Lowers Pro, visit www.nike6lowerspro.com. For more about the Oakley Pro Junior, visit www.oakleyprojunior.com.

The 6.0 Lowers Pro and Oakley Pro Junior wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of sponsors. During these tough economic times, their commitment is even more appreciated. A special thank you goes out to presenting sponsors Nike 6.0 and Oakley, co-sponsor Red Bull, and media sponsors Surfer (surfermag.com), Surfing (surfingthemag.com), WaveWatch.com and FUEL TV.

About Nike 6.0:
Welcome to Nike 6.0 … a multi-action sports brand supporting the next generation. Our mission is simple: Instigate, inspire and elevate the next generation. The barriers that once existed between action sports have been reduced by those who skate, surf, and ride with equal and inclusive passion. 6.0 is dedicated to this new crop of athletes through our multi-sport team, innovative product, and events. From the streets to the surf, from the dirt to the park, Nike 6.0 symbolizes the creativity and progression inherent in the DNA of action sports. www.nike6.com

About Oakley, Inc.
Oakley, Inc. designs, manufactures and distributes high-performance sunglasses, prescription lenses and frames, goggles and technology-enabled eyewear that utilize the company’s High Definition Optics® (HDO®), a collective platform of patented technologies that offer unbeatable optical performance. The company also produces technical and active apparel, footwear and accessories. For more information, please visit the company’s Web site at www.oakley.com.

About Source Interlink Media’s Action Sports Group (ASG):
Reaching more than two million enthusiasts, Source Interlink Media’s Action Sports Group (ASG) is the dominant force in the action sports and adventure sports arenas. In addition to publishing leading lifestyle publications such as Surfer, Surfing, Snowboarder, Skateboarder, Bike, Powder and Canoe & Kayak, Source Interlink Media’s ASG delivers a cutting-edge network of online properties, events and television programming.

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Posted by Cameron on Monday, March 23rd, 2009 in Press Releases.

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