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More Opportunity Than Ever for Local Talent at 2020 Corona Open Gold Coast

WSL Championship Tour event trials to involve more Gold Coast and Queensland surfers than ever before.

The World Surf League's 2020 Championship Tour season opener, The Corona Open Gold Coast, will offer more opportunity than ever for Queensland surfers through extra spots in the trials to be held the day before the main event.

The Trials event will comprise of 16 spots for both men's and women's events, and for the first time in history, a minimum of 10 of these spots are being allocated to Gold Coast or Queensland surfers. Depending on WSL QS rankings in the lead up to the CT season, there is a possibility of both the men's and women's draws having up to 13 Queenslanders claiming spots. The trials will eventually gift one male and one female a spot in the Corona Open Gold Coast Championship Tour event.

"WSL sees trials events like this as a major opportunity to give back to the surfing communities in the areas we run events," said General Manager World Surf League Asia Pacific Andrew Stark. "We are thrilled to increase the spots given to local surfers in 2020. Last year we made adjustments to include more Queensland surfers in the trials and we saw two young Queenslanders win spots in the main event. In 2020, with more reconfiguration to the trials draw, there will be further possibilities of the spots once again going to Queensland surfers. In places like the Gold Coast with such deep talent pools, local wildcards can really mix it with the best which keeps the CT competitors on their toes and the action exciting for our fans. We can't wait to see what happens at this year's trials event."

After a break-through season on the Qualifying Series in 2019, Burleigh Heads local Liam O'Brien was the highest Queenslander on the QS rankings to not qualify for the CT in 2020. The promising young natural footer is poised for a big season this year and couldn't think of a better way to launch his campaign than by making his mark on the CT field.

"I surfed in the trials a few year's ago but have a lot more experience and confidence in my ability now so I'm really excited for this opportunity," O'Brien said. "It's always good to take on an international contingent but it's really special to see more local competitors in this draw than ever before. There are so many incredible surfers that come out of this area so it's great that they get the opportunity to represent Queensland in the trials and hopefully get a spot in the main event."

Gold Coaster Ellie Brooks will be hoping to do some damage in this year's trials as an injury held her back in 2019. Brooks found herself a spot in the trials through being one of Queensland's top performers on the 2019 WSL Qualifying Series.

"I compete all year on the QS with a lot of the Queensland girls that are in the trials this year so to have an event with mainly them will be really fun," Brooks said. "It's going to be a tough event because the talent pool in Queensland is so deep but that's a good thing because whoever does win will have to be on their best game to take on the CT women. I cut my foot badly on the morning of the Trials last year so I'm hoping I'll be at full health this year and can give it my best shot to lock in a spot in the main event."

Similar to previous years, the selection will include a mixture of Queensland State Champions, local boardriders club competitors, Queenslanders with a high a rank on the Qualifying Series along with regional QS and Junior Champions.

The Corona Open Gold Coast, World Surf League Championship Tour opener will run at Snapper Rocks from March 26 to April 5 with the trials event running on Wednesday, March 25. For more information, head to www.worldsurfleague.com or check the Free WSL App.

GOLD COAST MEN'S CT TRIALS 2020 Allocation 1 - WSL - Snapper Rocks BRC - Spot 1 2 - WSL - Snapper Rocks BRC - Spot 2 3 - WSL - Kirra Boardriders - Mitch Duggan 4 - WSL - D'Bah Boardriders - TBC 5 - WSL - Top QLD surfer on 2019 QS Rankings - Liam O'Brien 6 - WSL - Second QLD surfer on 2019 QS Rankings - Mitch Crews 7 - WSL - Third QLD surfer on 2019 QS Rankings - Reef Heazlewood 8 - WSL - Fourth QLD surfer on 2019 QS Rankings - Mitch Parkinson 9 - WSL Regional - Highest Australian on 2020 QS rankings after NZ Challenger Series Event 10 - WSL Regional - Highest QLD'er on 2020 QS rankings after NZ Challenger Series Event 11 - WSL Regional - Previous Year's WSL Pro Jnr Series Winner - Dakoda Walters 12 - WSL Regional - Previous Year's Regional QS Winner - Matt Banting 13 - WSL Regional - Highest Aussie from the Previous Year's QS not in the event - Stu Kennedy 14 - Event Surf Sponsor Pick if no surf sponsor then WSL Wild Card - must be Qld or Australian surfer 15 - Surfing Queensland - 2019 QCC Thomas Woods 16 - Surfing Queensland - 2019 QLD U18 Champion Zane Assink

GOLD COAST WOMEN'S CT TRIALS 2020 Allocation 1 - WSL - Snapper Rocks BRC - Spot 1 2 - WSL - Snapper Rocks BRC - Spot 2 3 - WSL - Kirra Boardriders - Ebony Wilson
4 - WSL - D'Bah Boardriders - TBC 5 - WSL - Top QLD surfer on 2019 QS Rankings - Sophie McCullough 6 - WSL - Second QLD surfer on 2019 QS Rankings - Dimity Stoyle 7 - WSL - Third QLD surfer on 2019 QS Rankings - Piper Harrison 8 - WSL - Fourth QLD surfer on 2019 QS Rankings - Ellie Brooks 9 - WSL Regional - Highest Australian on 2020 QS rankings after NZ Challenger Series Event 10 - WSL Regional - Highest QLD'er on 2020 QS rankings after NZ Challenger Series Event 11 - WSL Regional - Previous Year's WSL Pro Jnr Winner - Molly Picklum 12 - WSL Regional - Previous Year's Regional QS Winner - Zahli Kelly 13 - WSL Regional - Highest Aussie from the Previous Year's QS not in the event - Philippa Anderson 14 - Event Surf Sponsor Pick if no surf sponsor then WSL Wild Card - must be Qld or Australian surfer 15 - Surfing Queensland - 2019 QCC Winner Sienna Hanna 16 - Surfing Queensland - 2019 QLD U18 Champion Ella Smith

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