Josh Stretton will look to add a state title to his growing list of achievements when the Port Stephens Surf Festival is held next week.
The 16 year old surfer and stand-up paddle boarder from Anna Bay has had a successful 12 months in the water, including qualifying for Australian SUP Titles and a semi-finals berth in the inaugural Port Stephens Toyota NSW Pro.
Stretton also impressed in the Surfest wildcard trials in January. He placed first in the Cadet Cup wildcard earning him free entry into the Surfest event where he surfed in the semi-final.
Stretton will compete in both components of the Port surf festival which includes the NSW Longboard Titles and SUP State Titles.
More than 200 competitors are expected to take part in events which will be staged at Birubi Beach or One Mile Beach, dependant on surf conditions, and in the Bay at Soldiers Point and Salamander Bay between June 19 and 24.
Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer said the event is a huge win for Port Stephens.
“Council is delighted to be partnering with Surfing NSW to host the inaugural Port Stephens Surf Festival,” he said.
“This event will attract competitors from all around Australia and is expected to have an economic impact of more than $600,000 across the Port Stephens community.
“The Port Stephens Surf Festival will promote our beautiful beaches and incredible national parks to a nationwide audience, and is in line with our strategy of growing overnight visitation to Port Stephens.”
The festival will attract the best longboarders and SUP competitors from across NSW to Port Stephens for the six-day event.
The stakes are high. Not only are state titles on the line, but a place on the NSW teams for the upcoming Australian SUP Titles in Currumbin and the Australian Longboard Titles at Tweed Heads.
The over-40 to over-70 men and women divisions will be determined between June 19-21 followed by opens, under-18 and juniors on the weekend, June 23-24.
The surf divisions of the SUP titles will begin on June 21 and wrap up on June 23. The SUP technical race will be held June 23 and the marathon on June 24.
Surfing NSW CEO Luke Madden said Port Stephens was the perfect location to host the event.
“Port Stephens is an idyllic region and we can’t wait to show off its beautiful beaches to some of the best longboarders and stand-up paddlers NSW has to offer,” he said.
“We expect to see over 200 competitors partaking in the event over both disciplines in what is sure to be a spectacular display of wave riding and ocean paddling.”
The competition will commence each day at 7.30am with the call for the day's schedule and location confirmed via the event hotline at 6.45am. The event hotline is 0458 247 212.