Pro Dean Bevan, Over 40s Nigel Canterbury, 50s Jay Carter, and Over 70s Bob McEwaine getting in the mood for the Australian Longboard Surfing Open at Kingscliff this March. Pic: Russell Richardson / Snapper Imagery
Thursday, 23 February 2017
The world’s best longboard pros are set to brush shoulders with veterans of the sport and those just starting out when this year’s Australian Longboard Surfing Open competitors hit Kingscliff Beach from 15-19 March.
The Australian Longboard Surfing Open is the largest World Surf League sanctioned longboard event in Australia, but it’s more than just another major surfing event organiser Sean McKeown explained.
“It is a chance to witness some of the world’s best male and female longboard surfers as they display surfing skills, nimble footwork and huge smiles as they compete in the clean clear waves that break along Cudgen Heads towards Dreamtime,” Sean said.
“But as well as current and former world champions leading the way, you will see the next generation of longboarders mixing it with those that have been surfing since the 60's as they spread the spirit of Aloha."
“We also have a number of activities in and out of the water suitable for the entire family".
“There will be fancy dress surfing division to raise support for Headspace, outdoor movies, live music, old board display and a surf vehicle show and shine across the weekend.
“The open encompasses surf culture, in and out of the water. It’s a place where generations of one family can all compete. Where everyone can come along and enjoy the joys of surfing and compete at their own level. We have people surfing in their first competition right through to the professional divisions.”
According to Sean entries are already coming in across all sections with the Cancer Institute NSW WSL women’s pro division looking particularly strong.
Current world women's champion Tory Gilkerson (California) has entered along with last year’s winner, Brazilian Chloe Calmon who is coming back to defend her title.
“More than half the field are internationals including world ranked number one Tory, Chloe who is ranked second in the world and last year’s world champion, also from California, Rachael Tilley,” he said.
“There are some top Australians as well. Western Australia’s, two-time national champion Georgia Young is making the trip across the Nullarbor for the event which will also feature Queenslander Kathryn Hughes, currently rated second in Australasia.
“With some of the best surfers in the world, it promises to be a close event with plenty of exciting action.”
McKeown said the men’s competition was also looking strong with New South Welshmen Jared Neal, 13th in the world and Jack Entwistle, 25thheading up a strong field. Current Australian under 18 champion Frank Murphy and Japanese surfers Kio Sato and Yoshiki Yonemoto will also surf the event along with Tweed’s own Dean Bevan.
Bevan, rated seventh in Australasia, will compete in both the professional division and the eight foot competition, an event he has dominated over the past four years.
The Longboard Surfing Open starts on Wednesday 15 March with the World Surf League (WSL) Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS) for both men and women.
With the professionals out of the way, registrations will be held at the beach on Thursday for the other divisions before the event kicks into full gear on Friday and into the weekend.
“The surfing program opens with Fluro Friday,” Sean said. “Everyone can dress in fluro and come down and surf/swim/ride inflatable swans/do yoga and raising awareness for Headspace and mental health issues.”
Friday will also include amateur surfing as well as free surf movies for the family in the Lions Park, “Bring a chair or a blanket and refreshments will be available,” he said.
Saturday’s program includes the traditional paddle out to remember those no longer with us, amateur surfing, wacky wave fancy dress, old board display while Sunday is finals day as well as the surf vehicle show and shine and beach activities.
- Report by Tania Spears-Phillips / ALSO
Australian Longboard Surfing Open is the only World Surf League sanctioned longboard event on Australia's east coast featuring some of the world’s best longboard surfers. It honours the history of longboard surfing together with amateur divisions and specialty surfing, lives music, surf vehicle display, surf movies and more.