Maitland & Port Stephens Toyota Pro

World's Best Descend on Newcastle Surfest

Today marks day one of the World Surf League (WSL) involvement at the 2016 Newcastle Surfest on one of the biggest weeks in Australian surfing. The event encompasses three WSL Professional level competitions, The NIB Pro Junior, The Taggart Women's Pro QS6,000 and the Maitland and Port Stephen's Toyota Pro QS6,000.

Surfest has already been running for over 2 weeks with a number of different local and amateur events being run and won in the build up to this, the festivals biggest week.

Competing in both the NIB Pro Junior and the Taggart Women's Pro QS6,000 will be the 2015 NIB Pro Junior defending Champion, Central Coaster Macy Callaghan (AUS). After some solid results already this year in both QS and Pro Junior events, Callaghan is keen to keep the ball rolling in 2016.

"Having a 3rd result at Boomerang has given me some confidence so I hope I can carry it into the Newcastle events," Callaghan said. "I would like to back up my 1st place result at the Pro Junior this year but I'm more focused on the QS6,000. Competing at both will make it a busy week but I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Macy Callaghan Macy Callaghan will be busy surfing in the Pro Junior and the QS6,000 events - WSL

The QS,6000 events are the biggest events so far on the 2016 WSL calendar and play a massive part in the preparation for Championship Tour surfers.

Six time Women's World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) is just one of the huge names that will hit the water at the Taggart Women's Pro this week. After injuring her knee early last year, this will be only the second time Gilmore has competed since April 2015. Gilmore knows how important this contest will be in getting her 2016 competitive season off to a good start.

2016 CT Rookie, Jack Freestone (AUS) is another big name that will be using the Maitland and Port Stephen's Toyota Pro QS6,000 as the perfect way to kick off his competitive season. Freestone, who finished runner-up in Newcastle last year knows that surfing amongst the spectacular field on offer is beneficial not only for his surfing but to gain valuable backup QS points.

The NIB Pro Junior will run from February 20-21 with the QS6,000 events kicking off on Sunday February 21.

Stephanie Gilmore tears up the break in Hossegor during Round 3 of Roxy Pro France. Stephanie Gilmore will be looking for a strong result to start the 2016 competitive season - WSL / Damien Poullenot