When it comes to professional surfing hubs in Australia, names like the Gold Coast, Torquay and Sydney's Northern Beaches spring to mind.
A sometimes forgotten epicentre of Australian surfing is Maroubra which lays just a few kilometre south of the world famous Bondi Beach.
Maroubra is the most southern of Sydney's geographically spectacular Eastern Suburbs beaches and you may not know that it is home to some of our sports biggest names. Pipe Master Larry Blair, past Championship Tour competitors Todd Prestage, Sunny Abberton and Blake Thornton, and more recently big wave lunatic Mark Matthews just to name a few.
Over the years it has hosted a handful of WSL Pro Juniors and Qualifying Series events, most notably the Australian Open presented by Snickers which was won by little known 11 times World Champion, Robert Kelly Slater in 2004.
In 2017 it will continue its love affair with professional competitive surfing with the second instalment of Carve Pro Men's and Women's QS1,000 which kicks off on the 18th January.
Fresh from becoming the Women's World Junior Champion (WJC), Central Coaster Macy Callaghan comes into the Carve Pro as No.2 seed. Although Callaghan took out the WJC in devastating fashion, the 16-year-old is all too aware that QS events are a totally different kettle of fish.
"These QS1,000 events are super important to me," Callaghan said. "It gives me a chance to surf against the older girls who have more experience which is a great warm up for the major QS events in the coming months. It's been really crazy since the WJC wrapped up. My friends and family have been a great support while I've been taking it all in. I'm looking forward to Maroubra where I can get back out there and keep competing."
Newcastle ripper Jackson Baker had a break through year on the QS in 2017 stringing together a number of finals finishes and even a win in Japan at the Yumeya Surfing Games Tahara Pro QS1,000. Baker is familiar with the beach break peaks of Maroubra and will look to use this experience as he aims for a win to kick of 2017.
"I'm feeling good coming into the Carve Pro," Baker said. "I've been training really hard over the off season and have a big year ahead so I'm hoping for a big result at Maroubra. I've been competing in events at Maroubra since I was 9-year-old so I have good experience there. I'm hoping to get a win and start off my 2017 with a bang."
Young Maroubra local, Max McGuigan, was awarded a sponsors wildcard into the event by Carve. At only 16-years-of-age, McGuigan is excited at the prospect of sharing his local break with some of the world's best.
"The Carve Pro is such a good event for the Maroubra area" said McGuigan. "Since it's upgrade from a Pro Junior event, it has become one event that every single local wants to take out. I hope we can all put on a decent show and the waves turn up for us."