Billy runner up at Red Bull Unleashed, Hawaiian Albee Layer takes the win!

20th Sep 2015

Raglan local Billy Stairmand has proved he has the talent amongst the worlds best expressive surfers and has placed runner up at Red Bull Unleashed held over the weekend. The contest created much hype due to it's unique competition 'duel' format, as well as the obvious of being held in the middle of Wales, on a man made fresh water wave.

More than 2,000 spectators turned out on Saturday 19th September to see the world’s first ever stadium-style surfing event. It was a surprisingly scorching afternoon in North Wales as the final eight riders went head-to-head at Surf Snowdonia’s artificial wave pool. In the end it was crowd favourite Albee Layer (HAW) who became the first ever Red Bull Unleashed champion, after a string of spectacular displays carried him to victory over Stairmand (NZL).

Billy Stairmand ripping the final’s first wave : Photo - © Olaf Pignataro

After a long hiatus from the surfing arena, wave pool technology is very much back in the game, and the last three days of high performance surfing in Snowdonia had the assembled crew of superstar talent buzzing about not only the state of things to come, but also the situation as it currently stands.

The competition was able to bring the crowd closer to the action than has ever been seen before, paving the way for a new era in competitive surfing. The athletes and spectators revelled in the unique man-on-man duel concept, which saw pairs of surfers go head to head, wave for wave, in a best of five format.

As opposed to traditional half hour heats, there are no second chances at Red Bull Unleashed, every wave counts, with a coin toss determining who surfs first. After each surfer has ridden a wave, the best score took the points. Best of five waves won, and once a surfer hit three wins the bout was automatically over and the next pair hit the water immediately.

Surfing heavyweight Jordy Smith (RSA) who was amongst the spectators said, “It’s cool, you both have an equal opportunity, and there’s no two ways about it, the best surfer always wins. You can’t afford to fall so you really have to walk the fine line between pushing it to the limit and pushing it too far.”

The unique stadium environment meant that the audience was less than ten feet away from the action. “The crowd’s right above you, as close as you can possibly get to someone on a wave,” said Smith, “some guys thrive off it, others don’t. It’s an arena for those who can feed off the energy of the crowd.”


Hawaiian freesurfer Albee Layer emerged champion after multiple spectacular displays carried him to victory at Surf Snowdonia. The Hawaiian powerhouse Layer beating Stairmand 3–1 in the final battle in front of the raucous 2,000-strong audience.

Layer was consistently in charge of his competitors, picking up on the nuances of the tricky waves early on and mixing up his manoeuvres to keep the crowd and judges entertained. His musical selections were as sharp as his surfing, and it was clear from the early rounds that Layer was the man to beat.

Sprayed with champagne on the podium, Layer, who normally does not compete, couldn’t help but beam with pride. “I didn’t know what to expect coming here,” said the Maui local, “but it’s been incredible. Surfing so close to so many people, music playing, heaps of energy in the air, to get the win is crazy. If more events were like this, I’d do them!”

Winner Albee Layer and runner-up Billy Stairmand : Photo -© Olaf Pignataro

Red Bull Unleashed full Results

Albee Layer (HAW) 3 def. Billy Stairmand (NZL) 1

Semi Finals
SF1. Billy Stairmand (NZL) 3 def. Jack Freestone (AUS) 0
SF2. Albee Layer (HAW) 3 def. Mitch Crews (AUS) 2

Quarter Finals
QF1. Billy Stairmand (NZL) 3 def. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 1
QF2. Jack Freestone (AUS) 3 def. Kai Hing (AUS) 1
QF3. Albee Layer (HAW) 3 def. Jayce Robinson (GBR) 1
QF4. Mitch Crews (AUS) 3 def. Ian Crane (AUS) 1

Round One
H1. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 3 def. Alan Stokes (GBR) 0
H2. Billy Stairmand (NZL) 3 def. Leo Fioravanti (ITA) 1
H3. Jack Freestone (AUS) 3 def. Evan Geiselman 0
H4. Kai Hing (AUS) 3 def. Kalani David (HAW) 0
H5. Jayce Robinson (GBR) 3 def. Hiroto Arai (JPN) 0
H6. Albee Layer (HAW) 3 def Ian Gouveia (BRA) 2
H7. Ian Crane (AUS) 3 def. Mikey Wright (AUS) 2
H8. Mitch Crews (AUS) 3 def. Reubyn Ash (GBR) 1


Source : Red Bull


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