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Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Sunset Open gets underway, final today

Makua Rothman, getting dirty in the chocolate Sunset surf.

The Sponsor Me Sunset Open presented by Da Hui looked like a Starbuck»s Trenta yesterday: big, brown and branded. Consecutive days of torrential rains put a lot of sediment and debris into the lineup. Despite the runoff the surf at Sunset was still highly contestable with solid-16-to 20-foot wave face heights. The first round and half of the second were completed yesterday.

North Shore native and former World Cup of Surfing Champion Makuakai Rothman won his stackedround 2 heat, beating 2001 Triple Crown Champ Myles Padaca, Kekoa Bacalso and Kalani Champman. Padaca advanced to the next round of competition in second place with Rothman.

While Makaukai was stoked to win the heat, the 26-year-old Sunset Point resident was frothing on the high definition broadcast of the Sponsor Me Sunset Open presented by Da Hui.

"Surfing definitely needs to be brought to more spots in the world and the technology that Ubiquity and Sponsor Me brings to the table will take it to the next level of viewership," says Rothman. This event is being webcast live on, and is available for the iPhone and iPad. It is also being telecast live on Oceanic Time Warner Cable channels 250 and 1250 in Hawaii.

This event is employing Ubiquity Broadcasting Corporation's IP Backhaul technology, which was first used last summer at the Sponsor Me Hawaii Ala Moana Bowls event. According to Ubiquity Broadcast Corporation Chairman Chris Carmichael the aforementioned method of webcasting and telecasting eliminates the need for traditional microwave and satellite communication systems.

"I think the real key is we're taking the surfing part and cinematography to another level and we're not costing anymore money," says Carmichael. "It's not going to cost you thousands of dollars to satellite uplink and you're getting the same quality if not more. To me, that speaks volumes because you're cutting that infrastructure and it's huge savings -- it saves cost."

For the past decade, Carmichael and his colleagues developed this technology, which was an approximately $28 million process. He holds eight patents for an "IP" backhaul that incorporates "compression."

Surf cinematographer Mike Prickett is working as the director of photography for the Sponsor Me Sunset Open. A couple of weeks ago, Prickett and Ubiquity Broadcasting Corporation made history by shooting the entire 2011 Da Hui Backdoor Shootout, from land and water, in 3-D. By raising the bar of surf contest production Prickett sees a mutual benefit for athletes, fans and the sport.

"I think upping the level of production is going to up the level of surfing," says Prickett. "Hopefully it will allow the surfers to make money and for everybody to make money like football or basketball players. We need to make [the surf event] exciting for the audience to watch because a surf contest day is really long and boring, but with good quality cameras and techniques we can make it exciting for the viewer."

A massive swell is forecasted to hit later this afternoon for the final day of the Sponsor Me Sunset Open presented by Da Hui. Contest starts at 8 am local time, and the finals will be approximately at 3:30 pm.