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Mark Occhilupo Turns 40

"I am just stoked to make the tour at forty"

jeudi 15 juin 2006Redaction SSS [Source RP]

Surfing great Mark Occhilupo will celebrate his fortieth birthday at home on the Gold Coast tomorrow before jetting out this Sunday to contest the next event on the world surfing tour in Mexico.

The remarkable achievement will see the powerful goofy footer become the only surfer to pass the age milestone and still hold a world ranking amongst the sports elite.

Occhilupo commenced celebrations with long time sponsor Billabong at their Burleigh Heads headquarters today with a cake cutting ceremony. The third longest employee of Billabong is the longest-serving team surfer and an integral part of the world’s best surfing team that also includes three time world champion Andy Irons (Haw), Taj Burrow (WA) and Joel Parkinson (Gold Coast).

Feared and loved as one of the most powerful competitors on the planet despite competing against opponents half his age the "Raging Bulls" appetite and surfing ability show no signs of weakening.

"This week I have surfed more times than I have since I was a grommet. I surfed four times on Tuesday and three times Wednesday so I feel really good. I feel really surf Surf #Surf fit and ready to head off to Mexico," said Occhilupo.

"I still feel 21. I plan to take it year by year. I’m not looking to be competing when I am fifty but if I am still on at 45, I will be. I am just stoked to make the tour at forty."

The current world no.20 has already secured a 3rd placing this year with a semi-final result at Bells Beach and is looking to jump further up the 2006 rankings with two of his favourite events at Jeffreys Bay, South Africa and Mundaka in the Basque region of Spain still remaining.

After 23 years, 21 career victories and a coveted 1999 world title, which he won 16 years after first stepping onto the ASP tour at the age of fifteen, the incredulous Occy shows no signs of slowing down with his competitive fire, skill and absolute love of surfing very much intact.

Still inspiring surfers of all ages Occhilupo will return from Mexico in time for the finals of the Billabong Occy Grom Comp named in his honour for up and coming surfers aged 16 and under.

Over 200 surfers of the nations best grommets will descend on the Gold Coast this coming July to compete for the approval of Australia’s most famous surfer. The five-day competition, will be held at Duranbah Beach from July 1st-5th, a break Occy has honed his trademark backside turns over the past 20-years, the Billabong Occy’s Grom Comp will attract guys and girls from as far away as Western Australia and New Zealand.

Born and raised in Kurnell, Sydney, and now living on the Gold Coast with his beautiful wife Mae and toddler son Jay, Occy shot to the top of the ASP rankings as a 17-year-old and set performance standards that to this day have yet to be matched.

Loved for the powerful and pure lines he draws in the water and comedic antics on land Occhilupo will continue as a true sporting icon on the world surfing arena.

Info Simon Barratt / Billabong Australia

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