Taylor Knox and Mick Fanning Awarded Rip Curl Pro Gold Pass ASP's; Mano Ziul receives Rip Curl Pro Service Award
March 29, 2013 – Torquay, AUSTaylor Knox and Mick Fanning have been awarded the prestigious Rip Curl Pro Gold Pass. The two iconic power surfers were awarded their Gold Passes at a presentation ceremony held at the Rip Curl Pro presented by Ford event site at Bells Beach on Thursday.
The Rip Curl Pro Gold Pass ensures that the event’s greatest champions and supporters remain actively involved with the ASP’s longest-running surf contest. The Pass grants the holder access to all areas of the Rip Curl Pro event site for perpetuity.
"The Gold Pass was created to make sure that past champions and great contributors to the event remain a part of the Rip Curl Pro forever," said Rip Curl Marketing Chairman Neil Ridgway. "Taylor is the surfer's surfer and respected by all of his peers. Mick is Rip Curl's favorite son. He's won the event twice and we think he'll win it again. We want both these guys to be taken care of at the event when they're coming back in 20 years time."
Fanning (AUS), 31, is a two-time Rip Curl Pro champion and the defending title holder, having bested 11-time world champion Kelly Slater at Bells last year in one of the most thrilling finals in ASP history. Knox (USA), 41, meanwhile, is the pre-eminent power surfer of his generation, and his iconic hack in the Bells Bowl is the stuff of legend.
With their Rip Curl Pro Gold Passes, Knox and Fanning join an exclusive club of only 17 other surfers in the world who have been given the award.
"Looking at the people who have received the Gold Pass in the past, they're all my heroes," said Knox, who officially retired from the ASP World Tour at the end of last season after more than two decades competing professionally. "Bells has always been a special place for me. When I was a kid I watched that famous Curren vs. Occy heat at Bells over and over again on VHS cassette until it broke. I'm super proud and honored to be a Pass holder forever."
Fanning's Gold Pass, meanwhile, came as a complete surprise to the two-time world champ, who thought he was making an appearance to present Knox with his award. Knox surprised everyone during his acceptance speech by pulling another Gold Pass from his pocket and presenting it to Fanning, to the delight of the crowd gathered at the Bells Bowl Bar overlooking the legendary break.
"I didn't even know I was getting this," said Fanning. "I've worked it out and this is my fifteenth year at Bells. I don't even know what it's like to have Easter at home anymore. Bells is like a second home."
Also honored on Thursday was the ASP's Chief Technical Officer, Mano Ziul, who was given the Rip Curl Pro Service Award. Ziul invented the modern computer scoring system used in pro surfing contests, which he introduced to the Rip Curl Pro back in 1989. He also pioneered live webcasting of surf contests to the world, which he first introduced at the Rip Curl Pro in 1997.
"Mano's contribution has really changed the sport of surfing," Neil Ridgway said.
Ziul, of Brazil, also had no idea he was going to be honored and made a heartfelt acceptance speech.
"The Rip Curl Pro was my first event I did outside of Brazil and I was always very welcomed here," Ziul said. "People ask me why I keep coming back after 20 years and I tell them: because each year at Bells is never like the last."
Past Rip Curl Pro Gold Pass recipients:
- Brian Singer
- Doug Warbrick
- Simon Anderson
- Rabbit Bartholomew
- Tom Curren
- Wayne Lynch
- Michael Peterson
- Jeff Hakman
- Mick Dooley
- Sunny Garcia
- Mark Occhilupo
- Nat Young
- Kelly Slater
- Damien Hardman
- N.A. - Michael Peterson collected his 2004 Pass
- Terry Fitzgerald
- Layne Beachley
- 50th Anniversary, not awarded.
- Joel Parkinson