Top surfers home for NSW summer of surfing
Three of the State’s best male surfers are home for a month of blockbuster surfing in NSW.
2017 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour Rookie of the Year Connor O’Leary, former WSL surfer Adrian Buchan and 2017 WSL Championship Tour fifth place finisher Matt Wilkinson will all contest events in NSW this month.
All three will compete for their local clubs in the Australian Boardriders Battle on 17 and 18 February at Newcastle Beach and contest the Burton Automotive Pro as part of Surfest, Australia’s biggest festival of surfing, held at Merewether Beach from 19 – 25 February. O’Leary will also contest the inaugural Vissla Sydney Surf Pro at Manly Beach from 26 February – 4 March.
All three events were secured exclusively for the State by the NSW Government via its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.
Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said surfing was a key component of the NSW Summer sports calendar.
“The NSW Government supports ten surfing events in the State, with 9 of them taking place over the Summer months, showcasing the stunning NSW coastline and our fantastic weather to visitors from all over the world,” Mr Marshall said.
“Surfest and the Australian Boardriders Battle are both significant events for regional NSW and last year cumulatively attracted more than 2,000 overnight visitors to Newcastle, injecting more than $2 million into the local economy.
“The Vissla Sydney Surf Pro is an exciting new event for Manly Beach, the spiritual home of surfing in Australia, and will see the best international surfers descend on the iconic beachside suburb.
“To have home-grown surfers of the calibre of Connor, Adrian and Matt shining the spotlight on our incredible surf breaks at these events is a major coup,” he said.
O’Leary, considered one of the brightest prospects on the men’s WSL Championship Tour, said the abundance of surf beaches in NSW made it the top surfing destination in Australia.
“From Cronulla all the way down South, there are countless amounts of reef breaks with not too many people out. You go to places like Wollongong or Ulladulla and it’s a bit colder, a bit more rural but if you’re a surfer, you get the best waves of your life down there,” he said.
The Australian Boardriders Battle will take place from 17 – 18 February at Newcastle Beach. Surfest is a month-long festival of surfing running from 20 January – 25 February, with the Burton Automotive Pro taking place from 19 – 25 February at Merewether Beach, Newcastle. The Vissla Sydney Surf Pro will be held at Manly Beach, with a junior event running on 24 and 25 February and the men’s and women’s WSL Qualifying Series running from 26 February – 4 March.