09 Feb Burton Pro attracts the big names
BURTON AUTOMOTIVE PRO 2015
BY TED BASSINGTHWAIGHTE
Waiting with bated breath for the news that 2013 World Champion Joel Parkinson from Snapper Rocks (Queensland) was going to surf in the Burton Automotive Pro concerned only a few.
Warren Smith believed Parko would return to try for a second ‘MR’ trophy.
This contest and how it effects his preparation for the long tour ahead is the perfect start for Parkinson.
In 2012 Parko was knocked out on the men’s event relatively early. After winning the 2013 Burton Automotive Pro Parko was asked by Newcastle Herald sports journalist, Craig Kerry what was the difference? Parko said that the confidence gained by winning the 2013 ASP World Title helped him turn the result around.
Parko also made the point that at Surfest 2013 another big change for him was having his lucky charm … his family. His wife Monica and children Evie, Macy and Mahlia being close to him during the contest made all the difference.
Parko also made the point that the Burton Automotive Pro is a perfect warm-up event for him. He said the contest allows for great training with lots of hard paddling and challenging surf especially when he was a part of history surfing in a contest inside Newcastle Harbour. Who can forget that Saturday?
So when Parko confirmed he was competing in the Burton Automotive Pro in 2015 the mood inside Warren Smith’s team sky-rocketed. Not only was the amazing and freakishly talented WSL 2015 Tour rookie and 2014 Surfest champion Matt Banting returning to defend his title the event now had its biggest draw card … Parko.
Surfest organisers are too modest to say but for some unknown reason entries into the 13 separate events across all competitions are at record levels. Starting with the WSL six star Burton Automotive Pro and one star Burton Automotive Women’s Classic through to the one star Hunter Business Boardriders Pro Junior the governing body for the professionals have closed the books.
In a repeat of last year’s main event there will now be a 44 man Burton Automotive Trials on Sunday 15th February to accommodate the nearly 200 surfers who tried to enter the event.
Joining defending champion Matt Banting (Port Macquarie, NSW) in the Burton Automotive Pro is the other 2015 WSL Tour rookie, Hawaiian Keanu Asing. Fellow Hawaiian and WSL international Fred Patacchia adds an experienced international flavour to the event along with talented professional surfers from 23 countries.
Leading the Australians is Parkinson.
The 2010 Surfest champion Glenn Hall from Avoca on the NSW Central Coast, surfing under the Irish flag ,will be keen to start the year with a win after suffering an almost career ending injury in competition in Fiji 18 months ago.
Glenn has qualified for the 2015 WSL Tour so a win in Newcastle will hopefully earn him the success he richly deserves.
Dion Atkinson from South Australia won the ‘MR’ trophy in 2011.
He returns to Newcastle to try and kick start another shot at the Tour after a very lean 2014.
Another Aussie competing and a bloke who has a large social media and print magazine following is outrageously talented goofy footer from Copacabana (NSW) Matt Wilkinson.
Along with many other gifted local and international surfers, Surfest 2015 is guaranteed to be one of the best.