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Big swells off coast and top US surfer heading for Oz

February 22, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Surfers in Queensland and the NSW North Coast are making the most of big swells generated today and this weekend by severe tropical cyclone Oma off Australia’s east coast – but the biggest news in surfing is that American professional surfer, environmental activist and innovator Kelly Slater will hit the waves in Sydney at the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro next month.

Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, has urged people not to go out into the surf as Oma approaches. There’s no threat to the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro, however.

Slater, with an unprecedented 11 world surfing championships under his belt, is both the youngest and the oldest world champion in surfing history. He says he is excited to be returning to Manly to compete.

“I’ve always loved the northern beaches and having lived part-time in Avalon for 15 years, I miss it and am looking forward to getting back to some old familiar territory,” Slater said.

“I’m also getting a nice warmup prior to jumping back on tour full-time after close to a year and a half hiatus from competition.

“Manly became a mainstay for a number of years on tour – there’s a lot of history dating back to surfing being introduced at Freshwater some hundred years ago by Duke and many years later hosting some classic events with legendary performances by Larry Blair and Wayne Lynch.”

Kelly Slater

Member for Manly James Griffin said the success of last year’s event has ensured that some of the world’s best, including 47-year-old Slater, will be in Manly for the 2019 event.

“Manly is Australia’s home of surfing, having staged the first-ever world championships in 1964, and we’re extremely excited to be welcoming the greatest surfer of all time to our shores to compete in the Vissla Sydney Pro,” Griffin said.

“The addition of Kelly’s name to an already impressive line-up will provide significant global exposure for the event and Manly itself, and is testament to the efforts of our community who have time and again demonstrated their passion and commitment to pro surfing.”

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Adam Marshall, said the NSW Government was proud to support the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro.

World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) in action at the 2018 Billabong Pipe Masters at Pipeline, Oahu, Hawaii.

“In 2019 we expect more than 700 overnight visitors to travel to Manly for the event, injecting around AUD 650,000 into the local visitor economy,” Marshall said.

The Vissla Sydney Surf Pro is a collaboration between World Surf League and Surfing NSW to run Sydney’s largest surfing event at the iconic Manly Beach.

The event combines a men’s and women’s World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 6000 with a WSL Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) event and will run from 16-24 March 2019.

Edited by Peter Needham

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