World Surf League Australia / Oceania are excited to announce the addition of a Longboard Qualifying Series event to the 2018 calendar. The James Bros Longboard Classic will run in conjunction with Newcastle Surfest at Merewether Beach on February 13 and 14.
Surfest is an Australian surfing institution and already plays host to the Burton Automotive Pro 6,000 and the Grandstand Physio Women's Pro 6,000 along with the NIB Pro Junior JQS. The addition of the LQS event is not only great for Newcastle Surfest but for the broader long boarding community,
WSL is very excited to add a new Longboard QS to the calendar. Longboarding showcases the history and culture of our sport, and our fans love to see the traditional style of surfing as our surfers compete for spots at the Longboard Championship Tour.
Hospitality siblings Peter, Harry and George James - who own well known Novocastrian eateries including Blue Door, Harry's Schnitzel and Table One Espresso - have backed the event in its inaugural year. Peter James, a keen surfer himself, says the James Bros. Classic is a great opportunity to bring a new competition into Surfest.
"To be able to get behind a longboard event - and a new one at that - at Merewether beach as part of Surfest feels the right fit for us. It was an easy decision to become involved because we are committed to Newcastle and Newcastle has long been committed to Surfest. Merewether beach was just named in the annual rankings of Australian beaches as the number one city beach in the nation and to be able to contribute to its showcasing is a real pleasure," Mr James said.
As part of the World Surf League's Men's Longboard Qualifying Series, the 1,000 event offers a prize purse of AU$5,000. The Women's 1,000 event is also part of the Longboard Qualifying Series and AU$2,000 is up for grabs. While the majority of competitors will consist of Australian surfers in both competitions, there are early indications of international athletes getting ready to don the coloured singlet.
In a massive boost for the competition, current world longboard champion, 33-year-old Taylor Jensen from North America will surf in the event. The dual world champion boasts a massive number of competition victories, including a staggering six US national longboard titles, three Australasian titles and more than 50 professional event wins.
Surfest event director Warren Smith said that even after more than three decades of Surfest, it's still a big thrill to see new events incorporated into Australia's biggest festival of surfing.
"We haven't had a WSL longboards event included at Merewether and to have the James brothers stump up to make it happen is another demonstration of the growing involvement of Newcastle businesses getting behind Surfest," he said.
Surfest is supported by the NSW Government via its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.