The world’s top surfers have descended on Jeffreys Bay for the annual Billabong Pro surfing championships kicking off today.

This event, famous for drawing crowds, has also served to put the small South African coastal town on the map as one of the world‘s top surfing destinations.

The Billabong is the fifth of the 11 events on the 2008 ASP Men‘s World Tour, and will feature 45 of the world‘s best surfers.

Some of the big names to look forward to in this year‘s line-up include eight-time world champion Kelly Slater from the United States, reigning world champion Mick Fanning from Australia, and defending Billabong Pro champion Taj Burrow, who is also from Australia.

Four leading local surfers will be in action in the event, which will take place over an 11-day period.

They include Jordy Smith, from Durban, who is considered to be the most competitive local surfer in the championship.

Other South African surfers who have also earned their keep within the competition include Royden Bryson (East London), and Durbanites Ricky Basnett and Travis Logie.

The R2,3-million event, which only requires four full days to name a winner, will use the 11 days to choose the best weather and wave conditions to run the contest.

For more information, visit the official Billabong Pro website.

And if you’re lucky enough to attend the event in person, don’t forget to check out our J-Bay Accommodation Section.