Billabong has signed on as lead partner and title sponsor of the Pipeline Masters, the legendary 37-year-old event regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious surfing contest.

The Billabong Pipeline Masters will be the finale to a series of Billabong sponsored Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour events held at the finest venues around the globe – including Teahupoo, Tahiti; Jeffreys Bay, South Africa; Mundaka, Spain; and the women’s final event at Honolua Bay, Maui.

“Hawaii has been and still remains the true testing ground for any professional surfer,” said Graham Stapelberg VP of Marketing at Billabong USA. “The greatest world title show downs have all taken place at Pipeline and Billabong is proud to be part of this rich heritage.

“Billabong will now have both the final Men’s and Women’s World Tour events on the ASP World Tour.”

The 2007 Billabong Pipeline Masters caps off the 25th edition of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. As the culmination of the ASP Foster’s Men’s World Tour, it is possible that the eventual world champion will be decided at the event. Outside of a world title, the $710,000 Vans Triple Crown is seen as the most coveted accolade in the sport.

1978 World Surfing Champion and ASP president Wayne Bartholomew who has both competed at Pipeline and now oversees the governing body that sanctions the event, summed it up succinctly: “Pipe is the ultimate arena and the Pipeline Masters the most prestigious title on tour,” said Bartholomew. “Billabong brings their wealth of event skills to this North Shore icon, and this partnership personifies the dream tour concept.

“The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing couldn’t be prouder than to have a partner such as Billabong, a true leader in the sport and culture,” said Doug Palladini, Vans’ Vice President of Marketing. “As we celebrate 25 years of history and surfing tradition on the North Shore, cementing our partnership with Billabong only builds on the legacy of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.”