SCIENTISTS DISCOVER GIANT WAVES ON SATURN’S MOON; The Billabong Odyssey announces an expedition to surf waves over 886 million miles from Earth on the planet’s biggest moon.

NEWPORT BEACH, CA — (April 1, 2004) — In the wake of a shocking new report that scientists have discovered giant waves on one of Saturn’s 21 moons, comes the Billabong Odyssey’s announcement of an expedition to actually ride the Titanic breakers.

newscientist.com reported yesterday that recent computer modeling of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, has shown the existence of a “liquid expanse” which would be subject to the wave-creating effects of a moving atmosphere. During Wednesday’s proceedings of the UK National Astronomy Meeting in Milton Keynes, England, scientists demonstrated how the lesser gravity of Titan would produce waves far beyond what surfers are used to here on Earth.

The presentation was made by planetary scientist Nadeem Ghafoor, who is involved with the surface science package for a European Space Agency probe that is scheduled to parachute into Titan’s atmosphere in January 2005. Titan is about the size of Earth’s moon, with a gravitational force about one-seventh of what we experience on this planet.

According to the scientific journal, the waves on the distant celestial body are estimated to grow to “seven times as high as those produced on Earth by the same wind speed, although Titan’s lower gravity makes the waves more widely spaced and slower moving.”

Not only that, the wind speed estimates used are conservative and could be higher, generating truly giant waves. “It would be pretty scary if you’re surfing – big waves take on a whole new meaning on Titan,” Ghafoor told New Scientist. The big wave surfing community was quick to react to the news. Within hours, the Billabong Odyssey had announced plans to mount a surfing expedition to Titan. “We’ve been all over the world looking for waves, and frankly I think this planet is a bit played out,” said Sharp. “If the waves are seven times bigger, we’ll have to change it from the ‘Quest for the 100-foot wave’ to the ‘Quest for the 700-foot-wave.’ But we can get used to saying that after a while.”

Billabong executives said they were prepared to back the project to the hilt, and were already drawing up plans for a specially designed rocket, possibly using some of the launch facilities left unfunded in Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

“It’s going to be a bit of a strain on Billabong’s surf trip budget for the next few quarters,” said Billabong VP of Marketing Graham Stapelberg, “but we feel strongly that this is an opportunity to open up some new markets out there.”

Mike Parsons, who gained global fame for his 66-foot wave at the remote Cortes Bank off the California coast in 2001, was fired up to hear of the discovery. “I’ve been telling people for years that surfing spots like Cortes was like going to the moon,” said Parsons, “but now I think we’re ready to go beyond the moon. Saturn sounds good to me. We’re on it. Just wait until I tell Brad [Gerlach, his big wave surfing partner]. He’s gonna freak.”

Odyssey director Sharp was hopeful that Titan’s waves would be less crowded than some of the recent tow-surfing sessions here on Earth.

“It’s my sense that there are less surfers there near Saturn, and places like that are getting harder and harder to find,” said Sharp. “We think if we move fast we might be able to get to Titan and get a few waves before Garrett McNamara finds out about it.”

Where will all this galactic surf talk lead in the future? Sharp thinks he knows.

“I think this is only the beginning,” said Sharp. “If we can find good waves around Saturn, it won’t be long until you have a bunch of surfers exploring Uranus….”

In a related development, the organizers of the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards have indicated that beginning in 2005 that event will no longer be merely global. Sources say an announcement has been scheduled for tomorrow, April 2, stating that event will be renamed the “Billabong XXL Galactic Big Wave Challenge” to reflect the recent developments.

In a related development, the organizers of the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards have indicated that beginning in 2005, that event will no longer be merely global in scope. Sources say an announcement will be made tomorrow that the annual high surf championships will be renamed the “Billabong XXL Galactic Big Wave Awards” to reflect the recent discoveries.

Also being announced tomorrow (April 2) will be the names of all the finalists in this year’s competition to ride the biggest wave on Earth. The XXL Awards will be handed out on April 16 at a gala ceremony at the Grove Theater in Anaheim, California.