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Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Updated: April 16, 12:14 PM ET
Real Surf comes to X Games

By Jake Howard

From Bruce Brown's "Endless Summer" discovery of Cape Saint Francis in 1964, to Kelly Slater's '90s "Black and White" performance, and on through to whatever Kai Neville dreams up next, film has inspired surfers for generations. From old-school surf cinema to the modern-day Vimeo clip, monumental performances are spread, new locations revealed, divergent equipment shared, and the progression of the sport and the art of surfing march ever forward, documented throughout.

X Games is happy to introduce Real Surf to the continuum. In following the overwhelming successes of X Games' Real Skate and Real Snow, Real Surf has pooled eight of the most talented performers the world over and asked them to assemble the most potent video edits possible. The winning video walks away with an X Games gold medal. The Fan Favorite -- as decided by you, the reader and critic -- comes away with a cool $10,000.

Kelly Slater, the 11-time world champion, headlines the eight-surfer video shootout. Logic would dictate that the winningest wave-rider of all time is a heavy favorite, but victory is hardly assured.

The barrier-pushing Australian contingent, featuring Julian Wilson, Josh Kerr, Chippa Wilson and Dion Agius, are renowned the world over for their performances on film. For the boys Down Under, video edits are like Vegemite and toast -- it's what they do best. Julian and Kerr are both top-10 surfers on the ASP World Tour, and they have a flair for the dramatic when it comes to their free surf sessions. Chippa and Agius have carved out their careers in front of the camera, delivering some of the more memorable video performances in recent years.

That should be enough to keep Slater's hands full, but add Brazil's Gabriel Medina, whose backflip at Off the Wall this winter went ridiculously viral, and heavy-footed South African Jordy Smith, who is hot off the release of his HD masterpiece "Bending Colour," and things start to get real interesting real quick.

The addition of 2011 Innersection winner Matt Meola, who is equally adept at paddling into 30-foot Jaws and landing 720s, kicks things up another notch. The best surfers in the world, serving up their best performances with X Games gold on the line & what could be better?

The Real Surf series gets underway with Round 1 voting on April 2. Winners will be announced during X Games Brazil, April 18-21. Stay tuned, surfing's about to get real.