The annual Box Beach surfing competition is expanding to include an open women’s section this year, meaning there will be two crowns up for grabs – one for a king and another for a queen.
King of the Box event organiser Terry McKenna said the talent levels of women in surfing these days was “fantastic”.
He said that it was only natural to include a female event in this year’s competition.
Among the Port Stephens entrants confirmed for King of the Box so far is up-and-coming junior surfers Elle Clayton-Brown, 15, from Corlette and Jasmine Sampson, 15, from Anna Bay.
“It’s so good they’re opened King of the Box to women,” Clayton-Brown said.
“I love watching the guys surf Boxy. It’s a pretty fun wave; I’ve been trying to get around there lately.
“I’m really excited for it [competition]. I’m, excited to rep the Bay.”
King of the Box is one of the most unique surfing competitions in Australia, and some argue in the world.
Box Beach, which is tucked away in Shoal Bay, has a unique break and because of this the action is close to shore, not far out in the distance like many other surf competitions.
“It’s one of the most unique wedges in the world that breaks super close to shore,” McKenna said.
“You can almost see the look in someone’s face on the final turn, that’s how close they are.
“Boxy is also a natural amphitheatre with a punchy left-hand wedge,” McKenna added.
“It’s suited to deep tubes and huge airs.”
This year’s King of Box is scheduled to be held on the weekend of August 19-20.
However, if the break isn’t good enough to host the competition, it will be held August 26-27.
“We need the ocean to have a bit of grunt for it [competition] to be good,” McKenna said.
“We work with Gavin Morris, the weatherman from NBN News, to try and predict what the waves will be doing.”
Organisers will call the event “on” the Tuesday afternoon prior to the weekend once they’re confident that there will be enough swell.
About 80 surfers are expected to take part in this year’s competition, which has four categories: open men, junior men, open women and legend’s (invitation only).
All events are shortboard.
In the past four years, Box Beach has played host to some of Australia’s best surfers including former winners Jackson Baker, Ryan Callinan and Jesse Adam (all from Merewether), Chris Michalak (Fingal Bay) and Jamie Skillin (Central Coast).
Michalak has confirmed that he will surf in this year’s King of the Box, taking a short break from the World Surf League’s qualifying series to surf his home break.
Mitch Dawkins, from Nelson Bay, is expected to surf in King of the Box.
It comes after Dawkins claimed a state surfing title in June.
Following the competition, a presentation is held at the Country Club Hotel.