Sport on the Internet

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The Independent Online
HAWAII'S PIPELINE is widely regarded as the ultimate wave on the professional surfing circuit. It is also the venue for the Mountain Dew Pipe Masters, the richest and final event in the Association of Surfing Professionals 1999 calendar. Waves permitting, the contest starts on Thursday.

Web-surfing visitors to Surflink will know that the world title has already been decided this year, Australia's Mark "Occy" Occhilupo having clinched it in October during the Rio de Janeiro Marathon Surf International. For competition surfing, Surflink is the best single source on the Net. It has the results and reports on this year's tour and the schedule for the ASP 2000 tour. Profiles of the top men and women surfers are online as well as stories about up and coming potential champions such as 17-year- old Fred Patacchia Jnr, of Hawaii.

Those with memories stretching back a few years to when Britain's Martin Potter won the title will have to look a stage lower than the World Championship Tour into the World Qualifier Series lists to find another Brit, where they can follow the progress of Russell Winter, who has moved up from No 28 last year to No 17 this year.

Competition is only a small part of the surfing scene. Recreational surfers, whether beginners or professional-standard "soul surfers" more interested in self-expression than winning tournaments, are well catered for on the Web., the Internet version of the legendary print magazine, has a foot in both camps with headlines and news stories about ASP events and sport politics plus more general industry news, such as where to find the latest Webcams and developments in artificial reef technology that could mean custom-made waves.

Some of its print features are also online, including a Q&A (for surfers with attitude, that's short for "Question Authority") where the finer points of the sport and its associated lifestyle are put to experts for definitive answers. QuickTime movies of wipe-outs and various mishaps in the water are collected under the Sick Sequence buttons.

The UK has some of the best surf in Europe - on the north coast of Scotland and in the South-West of England and Wales - even though it no longer hosts a world championship event. The best collection of resources for the domestic scene is UK Surfing. This site has local weather reports and surf predictions as well as links to shops, surf schools, national competitions, and a Webcam overlooking Fistral Beach in Cornwall. It also runs an e-mail newsletter, Newsurf, that has been produced for four years. It covers everything from tips on good surfing spots to the reluctance of funding bodies to put any money into the sport.

Surfers, whether competition or soul surfers, are conspicuous by their absence in the short list of candidates for an online poll to find the sporting heroes of the century at the PA NewsCentre. Internet users have until Friday to go and register their votes. Results will be announced on 20 December, the day before the Pipe Masters final in Oahu.

Site Addresses


UK Surfing

PA NewsCentre