The Port Stephens Toyota NSW Pro will return to Birubi Beach November 3-4, 8-13

The countdown is on for the second Port Stephens Toyota NSW Pro, which will return to Birubi Beach in November.

Surfing NSW, Port Stephens Council, representatives from World Surf League, event partners, sponsors and surfers turned out to the popular beach on Thursday to officially launch the NSW Pro, which this year has be extended to run across eight days, up from four in 2017.

“It's great to see the event back here for its second year,” Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer said at the launch.

“This is a great event for our area. It supports the local economy through visitation to our area but also gives an opportunity to our local juniors to see what they can aspire to over a long period of time. 

“With the event encompassing seniors and juniors alike, this year it will be bigger and better.”

The Kaos Surf PRD Cadet Cup, for under 12, 14 and 16 junior surfers, and the open women’s pro-am for amateurs will kick off the NSW Pro on November 3 and 4.

The NSW Women’s Pro, a QS6000 event, and the NSW Men’s Pro, a QS1000, will be held from November 8 to 13.

Events will be staged at Birubi Beach, however One Mile and Fingal Beach have been flagged as alternative locations if the swell or weather are poor during competition days.

For the world’s elite female surfers, the NSW Women’s Pro is an important event.

As the last QS on the season’s calendar, and worth 6000 points, it is the event that has the potential to make or break surfers’ dreams in making the world championship tour, known as the CT.

Just the top six from the QS rankings are elevated to the CT. Last year’s NSW Pro attracted CT surfers such as Tatiana Weston-Webb, Keely Andrew, Bronte Macaulay, Johanne Defay, Pauline Ado and Coco Ho.

Defay, from France, won the inaugural NSW Women’s Pro.

Johanne Defay is lifted up out of the water after winning the 2017 Port Stephens Toyota NSW Pro Women’s QS6000. Picture: Ethan Smith / Surfing NSW

Johanne Defay is lifted up out of the water after winning the 2017 Port Stephens Toyota NSW Pro Women’s QS6000. Picture: Ethan Smith / Surfing NSW

Read more about the 2017 NSW Pro:

The NSW Men’s Pro, worth 1000 points, is the final Australian event in the men’s QS calendar for 2018. It will help male surfers to gain seeding points for the season.

Liam O’Brien from Burleigh Heads won the 2017 NSW Men’s Pro.

Surfing NSW CEO Luke Madden expects the 2018 event will attract about 200 surfers from 20 countries.

“The aim of the Port Stephens Toyota NSW Pro is to give some of the world’s best female surfers the opportunity to finish their year with a bang and hopefully a few will get a springboard onto the championship tour,” he said.

“Last year we saw some amazing performances, with nearly half of the Women’s Championship Tour competing here at Port Stephens.

“The waves in Port Stephens have been amazing to us in the past. I know all the women's world tour competitors love coming to this area.

“With the sand dunes in the background, its such a unique environment to surf in. There's also so many great back up locations here. We love bringing events here to Port Stephens.”

For Corlette surfers Elle and Mike Clayton-Brown, aged 16 and 15, having a world-class surfing competition on their doorstep is “great”.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Mike said of the 2018 NSW Pro. “This gives me a chance to go up against the older boys and hopefully get some good waves. It’s really good that we don’t have to travel away to compete in an event like this.”

Corlette sibling surfers Elle and Mike Clayton-Brown, aged 16 and 15. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

Corlette sibling surfers Elle and Mike Clayton-Brown, aged 16 and 15. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

Mike surfed in the cadet cup and men’s pro last year. He was knocked out of the first round in both events, something he is looking to improve on this year.

Elle surfed in the cadet cup and, after winning a wildcard, the QS last year. She went up against then world number seven and championship tour surfer Sage Erickson in round five.

She said the experience was “amazing”.

“It’s great having some of the best surfers in the world here in town and surfing Birubi,” Elle said. “It’s really good to be part of the atmosphere they bring here, and see how they act with each other out of the surf.

“I’m hoping to get some better scores this year and, overall, surf better.”

Fellow teen surfers Josh Stretton and Jasmine Sampson are set to enter the NSW Pro again this year while Super Groms Jimmi Hill, Isaac Sullivan and Taj Turner will contest the cadet cup divisions.

Port Stephens surfers Simon Law, Mitch Dawkings, Chris Michalak, Nelson Corner and Brett Western have been named as candidates to contest the NSW Men’s Pro.

Port Stephens Toyota owner Kim Burton has once again thrown his support behind the NSW Pro by sponsoring the event.

Mr Burton, who also sponsors Surfest in Newcastle and King of the Box held in Shoal Bay, believes his passion for surfing and his business come together perfectly through events like the NSW Pro.

“It all started with the first wave I caught when I was a young kid,” he said. “I love surfing and I’m really blessed to be able to support it in the way I have been able to. I am really lucky to have a business, a successful business, and to be in a position to sponsor these events.”

Not just passionate about surfing, Mr Burton has long been a strong supporter for women’s surfing. In 2006 when Surfest looked to cut its women’s competition due to funding, Mr Burton sponsored the event and kept it afloat.

Today, the women’s competition is thriving and has become one of the Surfest drawcards. Similarly, when it came to the one-day King of the Box competition, Mr Burton increased his sponsorship for the 2018 event, run the first weekend in September, with the funds going to the women’s competition for prize money.

“I just love the sport, and I love that I can be part of it in this way,” Mr Burton said.

For Deb Stretton, from Anna Bay, seeing the NSW Pro come together for a second year is a “surreal” feeling.

Ms Stretton has long pushed to have a professional surfing event like the NSW Pro in Port Stephens.

Following the demise of the Sydney International Women’s Pro mid-2017, Ms Stretton put Port Stephens forward as an alternate site and, with help from Surfing NSW, WSL, Destination NSW, Port Stephens Council and sponsors, the NSW Pro was born.

“Twelve months has gone so quickly,” said Ms Stretton, who this year is acting as a community liaison person between the stakeholders.

“It’s great that we had more time to organise it this year. There’s been more engagement with the community, and we’ve been able to get more people involved. It has been great.”

Kaos Surf owner Tony Bainbridge and PRD Port Stephens principal Bruce Gair were presented trophies after the 2017 Port Stephens Toyota NSW Pro in thanks for sponsoring the cadet cup. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

Kaos Surf owner Tony Bainbridge and PRD Port Stephens principal Bruce Gair were presented trophies after the 2017 Port Stephens Toyota NSW Pro in thanks for sponsoring the cadet cup. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

Kaos Surf PRD Cadet Cup 2018 

Date: November 3 and 4

Primary location: Birubi Beach

Back up locations: One Mile Beach and Fingal Beach

Divisions:

  • U/16 Boys
  • U/16 Girls
  • U/14 Boys
  • U/14 Girls 
  • U/12 Boys
  • U/12 Girls

Port Stephens NSW Women's Pro (QS6000)

Date: November 8 to 13

Location: Birubi Beach

The final women’s QS event for 2018 where World Championship Tour surfers will be competing, including the likes of Joanne Defay, Sage Erickson, Tatiana Weston Webb, Coco Ho, Bronte Macauly, Keely Andrew and Pauline Ado. 

Port Stephens NSW Men’s Pro (QS1000)

Date: November 8 to 13

Location: Birubi Beach

Flowing on from the Phillip Island Pro in Victoria this men’s QS1000 links up nicely for surfers to gain seeding points for the 2018 season. The Port Stephens Toyota NSW Pro will be QS number 51 and is the final Australian leg of the QS 2018. 

Port Stephens Open Women's Pro-am

Date: November 3 and 4

Location: Birubi Beach

Open to all women wishing to participate in the event, regardless if they are competing in the QS6000. It is recommended all women surfers take part in this amateur division.

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