HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., Oct. 29, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Surfline/Wavetrak is pleased to announce the commencement of the Sixth Annual O'Neill Wave of the Winter freesurfing competition. Now boasting a fresh "Breakthrough Performer" division, the O'Neill Wave of the Winter event promises to be especially exciting this year, as forecasters are expecting the El Nino effect in the Pacific Ocean to bring about above-normal, potentially historic wave action.

November 1st marks the opening of the 2015-16 O'Neill Wave of the Winter season, and even with very promising surf potential, would-be competitors have their work cut out for them. Previous winners include Kalani Chapman's Andy Irons tribute ride at Pipeline, Reef McIntosh's massive Off-the-Wall bomb, Ricardo Dos Santos' international beachhead at Pipe, Kelly Slater's winter-defining barrel, and Jamie O'Brien's Pipeline supremacy.

O'Neill is offering a $25,000 prize for the winning surfer and $5,000 for the accompanying filmer, while Clif Bar will once again put up $20,000 for the Overall Performance Award ($10,000 to the surfer with an additional $10,000 donation in the surfer's name going to a nonprofit benefiting the local community and/or environment). And new for 2015-16, O'Neill will award $5,000 for the Breakthrough Performer of the season — a unique category celebrating the accomplishments of the surfer, 19 years old or younger, who rises above all others in his or her age group with sustained, standout performances along the Seven Mile Miracle from November through February.

The O'Neill Wave of the Winter runs from November 1st, 2015 through February 28th, 2016. After each month, the field of entrants will be narrowed and the top rides highlighted in a Surfline editorial feature that will allow users to vote for a monthly winner. Each monthly winner wins a $1000 cash prize. In early March, an esteemed panel of judges, including Head Judge Gerry Lopez, Ross Williams, Pancho Sullivan and Shawn Briley, will select the ultimate winning wave as well as the season's Overall Performance and Breakthrough Performer Awards.

To submit entries, upload here: www.surfline.com/wave-of-the-winter/2015-2016/

The O'Neill Wave of the Winter, powered by Surfline, will be won by the surfer who catches and successfully rides the single best wave of the contest period on the North Shore of Oahu. The judging panel will select each month's top rides and they will collectively be deemed the finalists for the grand prize.
O'Neill Wave of the Winter
Wave Size (25%)
Degree of Difficulty of Maneuvers (25%)
Style (25%)
Overall "Heaviness" Factor (25%)
Rides must be documented in video. (Photos or sequential photos are not eligible.) Judging criteria is purely subjective.
Breakthrough Performer Award
Must be 19 years old or younger and rise above all others in his/her age group with sustained, standout performances.
Clif Bar Overall Performance Award
Given to the surfer who demonstrates, more than any other, outstanding skill, commitment (to both the sport and community), courage and style while consistently riding the most challenging waves available on the North Shore throughout the entire O'Neill Wave of the Winter contest period.
O'Neill, the original California surf, snow and lifestyle brand, was founded in 1952 when a young man named Jack O'Neill took his unstoppable passion for surfing and used it to battle Mother Nature. Jack's initial vision of producing functional and innovative board riding products continues to lie at the core of everything the company does. From the first neoprene surf wetsuit and board leash to the world's first stitchless board shorts, O'Neill will always be committed to growing its reputation as one of the world's leading youth lifestyle brands based on being the First Name in the water.
Surfline/Wavetrak, Inc. specializes in providing live and predicted ocean weather information, editorial content, and consulting services to consumers, businesses, and government agencies worldwide.
Headquartered in Huntington Beach, California, Surfline/Wavetrak Inc. is focused on enabling its customers to pursue peak surfing, marine, and fishing experiences through the Surfline.com, Buoyweather.com, and FishTrack.com brands on web and mobile platforms.
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CONTACT:Dave Gilovich                                        
         (714) 315-1605