09 Sep Aussie Grand Slam gets green light
THE WSL has fired out a Green Alert for the Tweed Coat Pro to run this Sunday. The Tweed event is the first leg in a Tri-Series of broadcast-only (no spectators) “strike mission” events. Surfers will be given just three days’ notice within the waiting period window, which runs between September 1 and October 31, to travel to each location to compete in the two-day contests.
Newcastle-based surfers Ryan Callinan, Morgan Cibilic, Julian Wilson and Philippa Anderson will take on 20 of Australia’s elite surfers in the opening contest. Each stop of the Aussie Grand Slam will feature 24 of the country’s best surfers (12 men and 12 women). Ten male and eight female Championship Tour will be on standby for each stop, some looking to compete for the first time in 2020. The remaining spots in each field will be allocated to the highest ranked 2019 non-qualifying Australian surfers or selected wildcard surfers.
Championship Tour surfers Callinan, Wilson and Cibilic will join fellow tour surfers Wade Carmichael, Adrian Buchan, Conor O’Leary, Owen Wright, Ethan Ewing, Jack Robinson, Mikey Wright and Mathew McGilivray in the men’s competition. Anderson, Zahli Kelly, Central Coast surfer Molly Picklum and Holly Wawn are the three highest ranked QS surfers who will compete against CT surfers Isabella Nichols, Macy Callaghan, Stephanie Gilmore, Sally Fitzgibbons, Tyler Wright, Nikki van Dijk and Keely Andrew.
For all these surfers it will be the first opportunity to put on a sanctioned rashie since the conclusion of the Sydney Surf Pro on March 14, 180 days ago.
Callinan has spent the most time at home in Newy since he was a 15-year-old grom. With the unusually consistent swell we have had this winter he, along with Wilson, Cibilic and Anderson, have been able to surf their home breaks nearly on a daily basis. All four will make their way up the coast today.
‘It’s going to be great to be able to compete again, especially with this high level and see how everyone has gone in their time off,’ Callinan said yesterday. There should be some amazing surfing up there.’
Anderson was equally excited to be able to pit her wares against the countries best again.
‘I’m super excited for the opportunity from WSL to surf against the top Aussie WCT girls. I think everyone is over the moon to be getting back into comp mode. I’m so fired-up to compete again’. Anderson said.
Tour rookie Cibilic is hoping to be fit to surf after injuring his ear during a surf at home a couple of weeks ago. He perforated an eardrum while surfing at Bar Beach with Callinan and Wilson.
‘I jumped off a wave and slapped the water really hard on the side of my head. I’m off to the specialist tomorrow and will find out if I’ll be able to compete or not.’ Cibilic said.
If Cibilic gets the all-clear his first heat will be against good mate Mathew McGilivray and Merewether teammate Callinan.
‘When I saw the draw I was super excited to surf my first heat against the big dogs. Hopefully I get the go ahead. It’s going to be a super fun event’.
A moderate East swell is forecast for the region over the weekend and into next week and should make for favourable conditions at Cabarita Beach for the event to run over two days on Sunday and Monday. Tweed Coast Pro contest director Renato Hickel has been monitoring the forecast and is confident conditions will be favourable for a start.
‘We have been tracking this swell for a week now and the forecast has been constantly changing every day. Although it’s been changing in size and direction it has stayed relatively true for this coming weekend and indicates we should have what we need to run a successful, exciting and entertaining event. Over Sunday and Monday, we will see Australia’s best surfers have all the opportunity they need to display some incredible surfing in great waves at Cabarita Beach.’ Hickel said.
The other two planned ‘strike events’ are the Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast at South Stradbroke Island and the Margaret River Pro in Western Australia. Surf forecast and ocean condition information will determine when and where the events will be held to maximize the opportunity to score some serious, high-quality surf.
So what do they get for the effort?
The men’s and women’s overall series champions will each have $20,000AUD donated to a charity of their choice in their names.
Day one of competition is likely to be called on at 7:00 a.m. AEST on Sunday, September 13.
Tweed Coast Pro Women’s Round 1 Match-ups:
Heat 1: Isabella Nichols, Macy Callaghan, Philippa Anderson
Heat 2: Stephanie Gilmore, Zahli Kelly, Tweed Coast Wildcard (TBC)
Heat 3: Sally Fitzgibbons, Tyler Wright, Molly Picklum
Heat 4: Nikki van Dijk, Keely Andrew, Holly Wawn
Tweed Coast Pro Men’s Round 1 Match-ups:
Heat 1: Wade Carmichael, Adrian Buchan, Conor O’Leary
Heat 2: Owen Wright, Ethan Ewing, Tweed Coast Wildcard (TBC)
Heat 3: Julian Wilson, Jack Robinson, Mikey Wright
Heat 4: Ryan Callinan, Mathew McGilivray, Morgan Cibilic