The world’s top surfers will compete in Newcastle from 1-11 April this year with the NSW Government securing the opening round of the prestigious World Surf League’s 2021 Championship Tour in Australia.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said that when both the Sunset Open in Hawaii and the Santa Cruz Pro in California were cancelled due to COVID, World Surf League looked to NSW to host the competition.
“Due to COVID, a number of WSL competitions were being cancelled globally and NSW was seen as an ideal and reliable destination to salvage the competition,” Mr Barilaro said.
“The Championship Tour is the sport’s premier competition and will attract 52 of the best international surfers including the likes of Kelly Slater, John John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore, Tyler Wright, Carissa Moore and Gabriel Medina, along with Aussies Sally Fitzgibbons, Julian Wilson, Owen Wright and Ryan Callinan.
“With only a few months to go until surfing makes its debut at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, this event also gives our best Aussie surfers a valuable opportunity to put their skills to the test in an elite competitive environment.
“Sun, surf and sand are a way of life in our coastal towns and we’re doing everything we can to ensure our coastal communities can reap the recreational, tourism and economic benefits that surfing provides.”
Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the event would profile Newcastle to new audiences and potential visitors by showcasing the strengths of the region.
“This is a huge opportunity to promote Newcastle, its world-class waves and the region’s natural assets and visitor attractions to tens of millions of avid surfers and potential holidaymakers around the globe.
“The profile of the WSL Championship Tour will undoubtedly put Newcastle front of mind for many fans and start the all-important ‘dreaming’ phase of planning a holiday for when we can welcome international visitors again.
“The NSW Government has a bold vision for NSW to be the premier event destination of the Asia-Pacific by 2030, and we are proud to secure significant international events of this calibre to help us achieve that goal.
“NSW has demonstrated its ability to host COVID-safe events and our Government’s confidence to get businesses in Sydney and the regions back on track – this event will be another important step forward in our state’s recovery from the pandemic.”
World Surf League Asia Pacific general manager Andrew Stark said the Newcastle event will see the world’s best surfers compete in a bid to win a share of over $1 million in prize money.
“We’re excited to host the opening event of the Australian leg of the WSL Championship Tour in Newcastle and share the city’s fantastic surf breaks and truly spectacular coastline with the world,” Mr Stark said.
The 2021 Championship Tour schedule currently includes events in Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Tahiti, and the United States.
The Championship Tour is broadcast on Channel 7 and Fox Sport in Australia, with international broadcast partnerships for coverage in Asia, Europe, and the United States.
The WSL Championship Tour Newcastle is supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, and City of Newcastle. For more information, visit www.worldsurfleague.com.