The rich and robust history of longboard surfing will be on display in Western Australia this week, with the iconic Whalebone Classic set to celebrate it's 19th annual instalment in Cottesloe from July 8 to 10, 2016.
The Whalebone Classic is one of just ten contests on the World Surf League (WSL) longboard qualifying series (LQS) and it's the final one to be held in the Australasian region for the year.
The three-day competition will start tomorrow (Friday, July 8th) and will see an impressive field of professionals vying for a spot into the World Longboard Championships (WLC) to be held in December in Hainan, China.
Former two-time World Longboard Champion Harley Ingleby (NSW) is thrilled to be heading west again to compete in the Whalebone Classic.
"It's always a great trip and the weekend forecast is looking pretty exciting with big swells and some strong winds,"Ingleby said. "It's a treat to compete when the waves are bigger especially in Cottesloe."
Former WSL Women's Longboard World Champion Chelsea Williams (QLD) will be making her Whalebone Classic debut in 2016 and is also looking forward to competing in her maiden WA event.
"The Whalebone is one of the only longboard contests in Australia that I haven't been in," Williams said. "I love Western Australia, it's such an amazing place and it sounds like there's going being some swell over there."
Sunshine Coaster Nic Jones has competed at Cottesloe a number of times and is aware of how challenging the wave can be. In desperate need of a solid result to solidify a spot at the WLC in December, the Whalebone Classic is sure to be the most important event of Jones' year so far.
"The whalebone is always a challenging contest, in the usually small and tricky waves local knowledge is crucial to catching the right waves to win the heats," Jones said. "The wave is the most difficult small wave I've surfed in a longboard event, but it makes for a friendly challenge and pushing us ‘out of towners' to get up to speed with the locals on where to sit. "
"I'm under a bit of pressure to re-qualify for the WLC as the last event I had a less than average result, but I'm focusing on the mental game and trying to keep my head space positive. I'll have a smile on my face regardless of the outcome."
The inaugural Whalebone Classic was held in 1998 and has grown each and every year since. It was so named after the event's founder Peter Dunn saw what he first thought was an elephant's tusk, but was in fact a whalebone, when diving off Isolators Reef in Cottesloe.
Surfing WA CEO Mark Lane said that the event's long history and good reputation has seen it continually attract world-class athletes and great public interest at one of the metropolitan areas most iconic surfing locations.
"Cottesloe produces great waves in winter that are really suited to longboard surfing," Mr Lane said. "There's a romance attached to longboarding - it's surfing's oldest discipline and one that conjures up images of Hawaiian shirts, classic cars and people hanging ten."
The Whalebone Classic will run from Friday July 8th till Sunday the 10th. For daily reports and images check back at www.worldsurfleague.com or on the WSL App.