The Hakstar Mattara Pro may be about to run its 54th annual event, but this weekend is set to see a few new records enter the books. The event is one of the longest running surfing events in the world and has a start studded list of former champions setting the stage for an historic and action packed weekend of surfing.
This is the first year the event has been sanctioned by the World Surf League, seeing competitors battle for QS1,000 ranking points and $10,000AUD prize-money. This is also the first time former Championship Tour surfer Ben Dunn is the Head Judge of a WSL Qualifying Series event, which is a huge step forward in his post competition career as a judge.
"WSL are thrilled to have joined forces with the crew at Surfing Newcastle for the Hakstar Mattara Pro," said WSL Australasia Tour Manager Will Hayden-Smith. "The field is packed full of great surfers so we're set for a big weekend of surfing. It's also great to see Ben Dunn get the call up to Head Judge along with an experienced and talented judging panel."
Another milestone is the fact that women's QS campaigner and Newcastle local Philippa Anderson has entered the event. Men's QS divisions are open to all entrants while women's QS events are for females only, this is why surfers the likes of Layne Beachley and Carissa Moore have been able to take on the guys in QS heats in the past. Anderson is now joining elite company as one of very few women to take on the fellas.
"I wouldn't have entered if there wasn't spots available, the last thing I want to do is take the opportunity away from one of the guys," Anderson said. "I heard there was a few spots left and I thought that since the women's QS has finished for the year it could be a good opportunity to enter an iconic event and keep competitive in my off-season."