SW talent showcase

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Jack Robinson
Camera IconJack Robinson Credit: © WSL / Masurel, WSL / Masurel

The World Surf League may have cancelled the rest of this year’s championship tour, but Margaret River will get a massive boost in October as one of two legs in a new Australian Grand Slam of Surfing.

WSL announced the news on Wednesday, confirming Surfers Point and Queensland’s Stradbroke Island were the two stops in the new event.

The two broadcast-only “strike mission” events would play out over the championship tour’s two-month wait period and “crown the most dominant surfers in the best possible waves”, WSL said.

Each event will run for two days, allowing event directors to “pinpoint the best conditions for each location, guaranteeing the best surfing in the best waves possible”.

The $20,000 prizes for male and female surfers will go to charity, with the contest televised on Channel 7, Kayo, Fox Sports and the WSL Facebook page.

Each location will also have “Heritage” and “Locals best of the best” heats, contested by some of surfing’s most popular names, with Taj Burrow taking a wildcard in the men’s draw, Jake Paterson and Dave Macaulay in the heritage heat, and the “best of the best” heat featuring Margaret River surfers to be confirmed in a trial series run by Surfing WA.

The local female wildcard entry was yesterday still to be confirmed.

Stradbroke Island will see Mick Fanning, Bede Durbidge, Joel Parkson and Dean Morrison in a super-heat.

Seven-time WSL champion Stephanie Gilmore said she was looking forward to getting involved in the competition.

“It’s been a long, unexpected break for everyone, with so many unknowns for the year,” she 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.”

Tourism WA managing director Brodie Carr said the contests would showcase the South West to the world.

“Surfers are naturally great travellers who are constantly seeking out new waves and new adventures and WA offers this in bucketloads,” he said.

The only hiccup for the Margs leg would be WA’s closed borders, but WSL said talks were ongoing with the WA Government.

Last week, WSL also confirmed cancellation of the 2020 series, with contests to resume late this year.

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