LAKE Macquarie will host its first ever World Surf League event in February.
Staging the event will showcase one of the city’s most spectacular stretches of coast to a national and international audience.
Mayor Kay Fraser said Lake Macquarie City Council would be the naming rights sponsor for the Lake Mac City Pro Junior which would move from Merewether Beach, In Newcastle, to Redhead Beach for the February 9-10 event.
“This is exciting news for Surfest and it’s exciting news for Lake Macquarie,” Cr Fraser said.
“The event will include 64 male and 32 female competitors from across the globe, and it aligns perfectly with our ongoing commitment to grow Lake Macquarie’s reputation as a major sporting hub.”
Surfest organiser Warren Smith said the Lake Mac City Pro Junior was the only Australasian WSL Pro Junior event to offer equal prizemoney for male and female competitors.
“It’s a JQS1000-rated event, meaning there is no higher ranked junior event on the WSL circuit,” Mr Smith said.
“And that means we will attract some of the world’s best surfers aged 18 and under.
“Where they go, the surfing world’s attention follows, so this truly will put Lake Macquarie on the map for our sport.”
Destination NSW has again thrown its support behind Surfest 2019 – the 34th instalment of the landmark two-week surfing festival.
Council will host a range of free activities as part of the two-day event, including markets in Webb Park and skateboard workshops in the Redhead Beach car park.
Local WSL Pro Junior competitor Connor Lee said he was looking forward to competing at such a high level so close to home.
“I’m stoked. It’s going to be pretty insane having it right here in front of my local beach,” the 17-year-old said.
“I’ve been training hard and putting in some effort at the gym so hopefully next year will be a good one.”
There have been more than 30 World Surf League events for juniors held in 2018.
Events have been held in the United States, France, Portugal, Peru, South Africa and Indonesia.
Jinzun Harbour is this week hosting the Taiwan Open World Junior Championships for men.
Several WSL junior pro events have been in Australia this year. The most recent was the Hydralyte Sports Pro Junior, in Cronulla, in August.