Popular Women’s World Champ Tory Gilkerson, off the red carpet at the WSL Awards and back into the water at the ALSO, Kingscliff. (Killer eight pages on Tory in the current issue of PLB by the way.) Pic: WSL/Cestari
Tuesday, 14 March 2017
Current men’s world title holder Brazilian Phil Rajzman and women’s World champion Tory Gilkerson of the US head an all-star field for the 2017 Australian Longboard Surfing Open. They’ll take to the waves Wednesday 15 at Kingscliff with a record number of International and top-line surfers in the water from 8am (NSW).
“Wednesday is the only day to see the World Champions in action,” organiser Sean McKeown said. “This is the biggest field of international surfers we’ve had in the history of the event. We are expecting so fierce competition and some great surfing.”
This year’s line-up includes:
Phil Rajzman, Brazil, current and dual World titleholder (2007 and 2016), French world number five Edouard Delpero, Australian Jared Neal (WR -13), French man Antoine Delpero (WR 13), Jack Entwistle (NSW WR 25) and Nic Jones (Qld, WR 25). Domestically watch out for Kingscliff local Dean Bevan (Australasian Rating seven) who will be tough to beat on his home break, Sydney’s Michael Cottier – the World’s Oldest Professional Surfer and NSW surfer Harley Ingelby dual World Titleholder from 2009 and 2014.
There will also be a top field in the ladies events lead by current world champion Tory Gilkerson of the US. Her main competition is expected to come from Hawaiian Honolua Blomfield the current world number five, fellow American Rachael Tilley who became the youngest Womens World Longboard Champion in 2015, Japan’s Natsumi Taoka (WR – nine) and French woman Victoria Vergara (WR 13).
However they won’t have it all their own way with a top field of Australians – led by Kathryn Hughes of Queensland who is currently second on the Australasian Ratings and Western Australian Georgia Young, WA, (AR fourth).
The 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.
Organiser Sean said the surf was looking promising for the weekend’s events with some beach entries still available.
He said while Wednesday’s activities are all about the best in the world, the Longboard Surfing Open has something for everyone. The event will have a lay-day on Thursday before firing up a three-day program for surfers of all ages and abilities.
“There are a number of activities in and out of the water suitable for the entire family,” Sean said. “There are registrations at the beach on Friday with the surfing program opening with Fluro Friday.
“Everyone can dress in fluro and come down and surf/swim/ride inflatable swans/do yoga. This event is aimed at raising awareness for Headspace and mental health issues.
“There will be amateur surfing, free surf movies for the family in the Lions Park, bring a chair or a blanket and refreshments will be available as well. “
On Saturday the event will feature a traditional paddle out to remember those no longer with us as well as amateur surfing.
“We have wacky wave fancy dress, sponsors exhibitions, old boards on display, buskers, live music in the park,” he said. “While Sunday is finals day but there will be plenty of other things to see and do as well with a surf vehicle show and shine and beach activities for the kids all culminating in the finals presentation at the Kingscliff Hotel.”
For more info contact Sean McKeown, on 0414 569 208
Or Tania Spiers-Phillips, Media Manager, 0497106274
Or email Tangowalker17@gmail.com
- report by Tania Spiers-Phillips, ALSO