Posted: Jun 14, 2009

“Team surfing USA” is a 4-man, ultra-endurance cycling team consisting of Laird Hamilton, Don Wildman, Tim Commerford and Jason Winn, who will undergo a marathon-like crossing from Malibu, CA to Manhattan, NY; a total distance of almost 3500 miles. On June 18, 2009, the team will begin their journey by stand-up paddle surfing from Malibu, California to Oceanside, California which is approximately a 115-mile distance. Upon their arrival in Oceanside, Ca, they will begin the “Race Across America” (RAAM) on June 20, 2009. RAAM’s legendary stature has earned the respect and admiration of people from all over the world in its 28 years of annual endurance competition. It has established itself as one of the true pinnacles of global sporting accomplishments, seen as the highest level of challenge for ultra-endurance.

This team consists of amateur cyclists who are humbled by the challenge, highly competitive, but are looking to achieve their own personal best. RAAM’s previous best record for the race is 5 days, 8 hours, and 17 minutes which covered a distance of 2,959 miles. Upon their arrival at the finish line in Annapolis, Maryland, they will be continuing their journey by stand-up paddle surfing and cycling from Annapolis to the Statue of Liberty in New York, an approximate distance of over 300 miles.

Unlike other famous races like the Tour de France, RAAM is not a stage race. RAAM is contested in a single-stage, with no scheduled rest breaks. It is the world’s longest time-trial. Team RAAM racers in 2009 will ride over 3,000 miles from Oceanside, CA to Annapolis, MD in a non-stop 24/7 effort across 14 states and over 100,000 feet of climbing. To win the 4-person division, teams will need to ride just over 500 miles per day. (Just try driving that!)

Big wave surfer and world famous waterman, Laird Hamilton has once again teamed up with a founder of Bally Total Fitness and 8-time Ironman competitor, Don Wildman, in an effort to set a new RAAM and world record for cycling across America. Joining them is Rage against the Machine bassist Tim Commerford, and amateur cyclist and Ironman participant, Jason Winn. Known as “Team Surfing USA” the four-some has joined together in an effort to create greater awareness and funding for Autism, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Cystic Fibrosis and other important causes they hold close to their hearts.

Referred to by Men’s Journal as “the world’s greatest surfer”, Laird Hamilton is considered a pioneer in the world of water sports. Having been raised on Oahu’s north shore, Laird has spent his entire life exploring and enjoying the ocean through surfing and completing epic long distance journeys on his ocean-going paddleboard and crating the fast-forward speed sailing loop. When he was twenty-two years old, Laird entered a speed-sailing competition in Port Saint-Louis, France, defeated the heavily favored French champion, and broke the European speed record of 36 knots. Today, Laird surfs the outer-reefs in Hawaii with his friends and uses his years of knowledge of working with different board designs to catch the giant waves he’s famous for mastering. Please visit www.LairdHamilton.com to learn more about this amazing athlete and humanitarian.

Don Wildman, 76 years old, a founder of Bally Total Fitness, who at 17 years of age, was shipped to the front lines as a combat medic in Korea, quickly rose to become a platoon leader and then a sergeant. After returning home from the war, Don became a mastermind in the business world, but also a world-class athlete in several sports. Wildman, an 8-time Ironman participant, is no stranger to RAAM, having raced in 1994.

Born in California, Tim Commerford began playing bass at a young age, and music and poetry quickly became his outlet. He became a founding member of the monumental band “Rage against the Machine,” which quickly became a voice that represented an entire generation. In 1993, Tim was introduced to mountain biking by his future father-in-law. He has since become an obsessive mountain biker, even going so far as to thank all of his bikes in the liner notes for his albums.

Jason Winn is no stranger to extreme sports. Growing up in California, he was the quarterback throughout his school years, and he earned a full scholarship to Texas Tech University to play football. He completed his first Ironman Triathlon at the age of 23. But, Jason commented that, “The Ironman is easy compared to the Race Across America and our goal is to set a new world record!” Soon after the triathlon, he started Bonk Breaker, Inc. Energy Bars, and they are now in their 4th year of the company and have won Competitor Magazine’s Best of 2006-2008 (people’s choice award for the Energy Bar Category). In April 2009, Men’s Health Magazine/Outside Magazine published Bonk Breaker Energy Bars as “Best bar we’ve tasted”. Bonk Breaker is now sold in 4 countries. For more information on BonkBreaker, visit www.bonkbreaker.com

In 2006, Hamilton and Dave Kalama soloed while Wildman and others relayed a 500-mile journey through the ocean channels between the Hawaiian Islands, via standup paddle boarding and cycling across each island to raise awareness and funds for Autism causes (www.beautifulson.com). They are now ready to take on their next big challenge with Commerford and Winn, by competing in the upcoming “Race across America.”

Hamilton, who has also stand-up paddled on a surfboard across the English Channel, as well as cycled from London to Paris in just 2 days, is now leading this effort. “We’ve put together a world class team of extreme athletes and cyclists, with the goal of helping raise awareness and funds for various causes such as Autism, and Lou Gehrig’s disease. Also, I am involved with “Pipeline for a Cure” for Cystic Fibrosis. I feel honored and blessed to be healthy and be able to make such a crossing. Hopefully our crossing will inspire people to be active and healthy for themselves and to give back in a way that’s personal to them. I know from past crossings that one of my driving forces comes from the experiences I’ve had and seen with people affected by these various diseases, who have the kind of strength and courage that is admirable and inspirational.”

Wildman, who has a grandson with Autism, adds “after dedicating over 50 years of my life to fitness, I hope this latest event will motivate young and old as well as those with special needs to challenge themselves and get active, like my friend Augie Nieto, who is a living example.” Wildman and Nieto were pioneers in the fitness industry together. Augie received a diagnosis of ALS in March 2005. He is the former CEO of Life Fitness. Augie is also the chief inspiration officer for MDA’s Augie’s Quest and he and his wife, Lynn, serve as co-chairperson of MDA’s ALS Division. Augie’s Quest (http://www.augiesquest.org) is MDA’s ALS research initiative. It’s an aggressive, cure-driven effort singularly focused on finding treatments and cures for ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. MDA is the world leader in ALS research and services. Wildman says “It was a natural fit to honor him and his efforts by supporting Augie’s Quest.”

With millions of devoted fans, “Rage” bassist Tim Commerford comments, “Wildman and Hamilton have always been a real inspiration. These guys are as extreme as it gets, so I couldn’t pass up a chance to get involved, especially for such good causes.” Commerford will also be riding to support Hans Rey’s “Wheels4life”. For more information, please visit www.wheels4life.org

For more information about the Race across America, visit www.raceacrossamerica.org, and for more information on Autism or to make a donation for Autism, go to www.beautifulsonfoundation.org or www.nationalautismassociation.org.” For more information on Lou Gehrig’s disease or to make a donation, please visit www.augiesquest.org . For more information on Cystic Fibrosis, or to make a donation, please visit http://sca.cff.org/pipeline2009

Presenting Sponsor: Odwalla

Supporting Sponsors: Cannondale