Wrightsville Beach native competes on ABC’s new summer series ‘The Ultimate Surfer’

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The Ultimate Surfer (Photo: ABC News)

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — A surfer from Wrightsville Beach is riding his way onto a national TV show.

Mason Barnes, who is up for a Guinness World Record for the largest wave ever surfed, is one of the 14 people that are competing on a new ABC show called “The Ultimate Surfer.”

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Former NFL quarterback Jesse Palmer is set to host the surf competition series with sports anchor Erin Coscarelli and the iconic voice of professional surfing Joe Turpel to serve as commentators.


Eleven-time surfing world champion Kelly Slater is the lead consultant and also serves as a special correspondent.

According to a news release by ABC Network, the eight-episode series gathers some of the world’s greatest up-and-coming surfers to train and live together as they battle it out at the World Surf League’s (WSL) state-of-the-art Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California. It is powered by Kelly Slater’s man-made wave technology, in the hope of competing amongst the best athletes in surfing.

Weekly eliminations will leave two men and two women as finalists who will vie for the male and female titles of the Ultimate Surfer and the opportunity to compete on the WSL World Tour, the pinnacle of professional surfing.

“In addition to being a globally recognized sport, surfing is also a lifestyle; and ‘The Ultimate Surfer’ will give viewers a uniquely personal look at what goes into becoming a world-class champion. We’re ecstatic about the opportunity to utilize Kelly’s world-class surf facility and his expertise in showcasing these incredibly talented on-the-rise athletes,” said Rob Mills, senior vice president, Alternative Series, Specials and Late Night, ABC Entertainment.

“This is an unprecedented opportunity for two surfers (one man, one woman) to win an opportunity to compete against the best surfers in the world on the WSL Tour,” said Slater, who will be the lead consultant for the series. “This will put some of the best up-and-comers against each other in a more direct way to see who stands above the rest, and Surf Ranch is obviously a great venue to use for ‘The Ultimate Surfer.’ I’m excited to watch how they step up to the challenge.”

The two-hour premiere will air on Monday, Aug. 23, and Tuesday, Aug. 24 (10:00 – 11:00 p.m. ET), following new episodes of Bachelor in Paradise.