The Ultimate Freesurf contest hits France in its continuous spirit of exploration...

Free to roam the world in search of the best uncrowded waves, The O’Neill Mission has chosen the west coast of France for its latest adventure. From the wild and rugged coastline of the north around Brest to the renowned surf beaches of Biarritz and Hossegor in the south west, this coastline stretching over 1,000km long offers more than imagined by most.

O’Neill will bring 10 of the most dynamic surfers on the planet to Biarritz on May 17th 2008 from which point they will continuously explore every bay and beach of the French coast in the quest for perfect waves.

They will not stop until May 25th. With the unique contest formula, there is no set plan: The O’Neill Mission is free to drive to wherever the charts inspire, wherever the crowds thin, and (hopefully) the offshore lightly blows.

It is geographically a world away from the past two years of the Mission, staged in the French Polynesian Islands. But as Mission director, Bernhard Ritzer explains: “We wanted to do something totally different from the two previous years. It is about exploring new coastlines, enhancing the spirit of adventure, and getting the best experience for the freesurfing. The west coast of France offers so much potential. It fits perfectly with The O’Neill Mission’s core principles and spirit of exploration and adventure… not to mention challenging the boundaries of professional event innovation.”

While the final line up of surfers on this unique adventure for 2008 is yet to be finalized, eight high profile surfers have already booked their places. The two previous winners of The Mission, Ian Walsh (Haw) and Michel Bourez (Tah) have confirmed they will be back on this year’s trip – each attempting to become the first to win The Mission twice.

The location might have changed, but the unique and innovative ‘no judges, no rules’ formula of The O’Neill Mission remains. This is surfers judging surfers, with the overall winner walking away with US $25,000.