The world surfing tour may have been cancelled for 2020 but Gold Coasters will still be able to catch some live surfing action later this year.
The World Surf League has confirmed an ‘Australian Grand Slam of Surfing’ which will see two speciality events held at South Stradbroke Island and Margaret River in September and October.
Retired stars Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Dean Morrison and Bede Durbidge are all set to compete in the Straddie event. WA star Taj Burrow will also be competing in the Margaret River event.
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Each event will run for just two days but, with a two-month waiting period, organisers will be able to pinpoint the best conditions for each location guaranteeing the best surfing in the best waves possible.
There will be both men and women’s events, with the winners to receive up to $20,00 for the charity of their choice.
Seven-time World Champion and local star Stephanie Gilmore said she is looking forward to pulling on a competitors jersey once again.
“It’s been a long, unexpected break for everyone with so many unknowns for the year,” Gilmore said.
“It feels great to finally get some events in the near future to get back in the competitive groove. I’ve been seeing a lot of impressive surfing from the Aussie girls both at home and on social media so it will be so good to catch up and challenge each other once again, especially at Straddie and Margaret River, I think they’re both great locations. Running these events is a harder task than ever right now, especially for such a global sport, so it’s encouraging to see how hard the WSL is working in their regional areas to get things back on track for their surfers and fans.”
After taking out the Newcastle Surfest Qualifying Series event earlier this year, current world No.11 Julian Wilson is looking forward to testing himself against the best once again at two of his favourite locations in Australia.
“Good luck finding a surfer that doesn’t daydream about scoring one of those perfect South Straddie days,” Wilson said.
“Having a window to pick a 2-day event window is ideal, this is going to be fun. Anytime we get to have a WSL event at a location where we all want to go for a surfing trip anyway, is something to look forward to! West Aus has so much to offer in terms of wave varieties and whether it’s big or small it always packs a punch and offers an opportunity for us to perform.”
The events come ahead of a revamped 2021 WSL schedule, which will see the season start in Hawaii late in 2020. The WSL then head to Portugal in February before returning to Australia for the usual Gold Coast, Bells Beach and Margaret River events.