The 2019 Phillip Island Pro presented by Bass Coast Shire will boast the strongest field in history this week with confirmation that current World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) Surfers Nikki Van Dijk, Paige Hareb, Macy Callaghan and Keely Andrew will all surf in the Qualifying Series (QS) event.
Local surfer Nikki Van Dijk will highlight the field, surfing in an International event on Phillip Island for the first time in 11 years.
"It's so rare these days to be home let alone be in an event and sleep in your own bed and compete in the waves I grew up in," van Dijk said. "It's been a roller coaster of a year but I'm having an amazing time. I'm feeling really ready to finish the year off with a couple of strong results."
Nikki has been a staple on the Championship Tour for the past 6 years, finishing in the top 10 in the world in 2015, 2017 and 2018. She is currently placed 11th with one event left for the season. With qualification on the line, Nikki is competing at Phillip Island to gain points on the qualifying series to qualify for the 2020 World Championship Tour.
"Having QS events in these areas are super important for the next generation of surfers. The Roxy Pro (Former QS Event on Phillip Island) was a huge reason why I got to the position I am in now. I saw from such a young age how far you can take this sport and that inspired me a lot. Especially seeing how incredible the women surfed, it was hugely inspiring for me for sure"
With the increase of rating points for the female event to a QS1,500, it has attracted a high-quality international field that has more international competitors than Australian's pointing towards to strong desire to gain QS points and the quality of waves in the region. Current World Championship Tour Surfer Macy Callaghan is stoked to be back on Phillip Island.
"It's good to be back on Phillip Island for the Phillip Island Pro," Callaghan said. "I went there a few years ago for a Pro Junior event and got knocked in my second heat and went straight home so I'm hoping that this trip goes a little better for me. I'm really looking forward to competing back in Australia after two long months on the road -- it's 'god's country'. Being a QS1,500, these points are very crucial. A win here could really help me going into the last event of the year."
Former World Tour competitor and Barbados native Chelsea Tuach will be joining the list of international competitors along with likely 2020 CT Rookie Amuro Tsuzuki, Former CT surfer Sage Erickson, Samantha Sibley, Teresa Bonvalot, Gabriela Bryan and Eveline Hooft.
The primary location will be Cape Woolamai however it is looking likely to shift to the backup location of Penguin Parade for the opening days of competition.
The general public is encouraged to attend all of the surfing across the weekend along with the Opening Ceremony that will be Thursday morning at 7:30 am at Penguin Parade (Location dependent on conditions).
The 2019 Phillip Island Pro men's and women's events will run from November 7 - 10. For more information and live scores head to www.worldsurfleague.com and on the free WSL App.
The Phillip Island Pro is presented by the Bass Coast Shire and Sport and Recreation Victoria's Significant Sporting Events Program and supported by Ramada Phillip Island, Coastalwatch, Cancer Council Sunscreen, Kings Cars and Surfing World Magazine.