Some of the world's top surfers have converged on the Gold Coast ahead of the 2019 Gold Coast Open presented by Flight Centre which is set to kick off tomorrow, and will see surfers from all over the globe battling it out head-to-head for valuable World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) points. The event includes a WSL QS 1,500 rated event, as well as a WSL Pro Junior event and will run over 6 full days from the 7th to the 12th of May.
Local hopeful, and son of surfing legend Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew, Jaggar Bartholomew is looking forward to surfing in the Pro Junior division tomorrow.
"As soon as I found out there was going to be a competition here I was frothing," said Bartholomew. "I'm pretty happy with my training at the moment, I'm working on a few different aspects of my surfing right now. I'm excited to be surfing the Pro Junior circuit this year, my goal is to take out the Australasian series and hopefully head to the world juniors. I'll also be surfing a few of the QS3,000's around the globe this year.
Another local hopeful, Ellie Brooks is excited to get straight into the QS event.
"It's always a fun event," said Brooks. "It's great that Surfing Queensland has bumped it up to a QS1,500 from a 1,000. It makes it a lot more fun than the usual local competitions, and it means there's a lot more at stake. This year should be fun, I'm surfing in a few QS10,000s and hopefully get some free surf trips in between competitions."
2017 event champion Isabella Nichols is another keen competitor looking forward to the week's action.
"I'm so excited, I hope there are some good waves for us to surf. It's such a fun wave to surf with a couple of other people," said Nichols. "This event makes you want to perform well because there are always so many people on the hill watching. It's definitely one of the most fun contests of the year."
Coastalwatch chief forecaster Ben McCartney is positive in his forecast. "A new pulse of SSE swell fills in across the region on Tuesday before easing again Wednesday and Thursday," said McCartney. "This should see a few days of good contestable conditions at Burleigh."
Previous winners of the Gold Coast Open presented by Flight Centre (formerly Burleigh Pro) include names like Taj Burrow, Julian Wilson, Dimity Stoyle, Owen Wright, Kobie Enright, Mitch Crews and Isabella Nichols. The event is known for attracting surfers from all corners of the globe including Indonesia, North America, France, Brazil and Japan.
Previous event winner and 2018 World Surf League (WSL) number 2 ranked surfer in the world Julian Wilson holds fond memories of the event.
"Burleigh is one of the jewels of the East Coast and I think it's really cool that there's a QS there," said Wilson. "That year when I did it and had success was a nice jolt to kick my year off in the right direction."
Surfing Queensland CEO Adam Yates is stoked to be hosting the 2019 Gold Coast Open presented by Flight Centre.
"Re-naming the Burleigh Pro allows for countless new possibilities," said Yates. "The potential for the event to grow into something much larger and well-known is sure to become evident with the re-brand. With the increase in WSL Qualifying Series rating points from 1,000 to a 1,500, as well as the inclusion of the WSL Pro Junior event, skateboarding event and live music, there's potential for the Gold Coast Open to become internationally renowned."
Queensland's Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the Gold Coast was world-renowned for its surf breaks and beach lifestyle.
"Burleigh is a wonderful home for this event, and the name change will bring the global appeal of one of Australia's most recognisable tourism destinations with it," Ms Jones said. "Hosting the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games cemented our position as a world-class event host and I look forward to welcoming talented surfers from around the world to the 2019 Gold Coast Open."
This year will again host an open Men's and Women's division, as well as the introduction of the Pro Junior Men's and Women's event. As an added value, attendees can look forward to other attractions including live bands, skateboarding event and Mother's Day sunrise yoga sessions.
The 2019 Gold Coast Open presented by Flight Centre is proudly supported by Flight Centre, Tourism and Events Queensland, The Gold Coast City Council, Boheme and Body, Lulu Lemon, Emetheni, Skate Park Leagues, H2Coco, Mercedes Benz Gold Coast, Surfing World Magazine, Coastal Watch Plus, Air Asia, The Queensland Government and Surfing Queensland.