COOLANGATTA, QLD / AUS (Tuesday, September 1, 2020) - The official waiting period for the 2020 World Surf League (WSL) Australian Grand Slam of Surfing opens today, September 1 and runs through until October 31, giving event organisers optimum time to pick perfect conditions at all three locations.
As part of The WSL Countdown global series, the Australian Grand Slam of Surfing will see the Championship Tour (CT) competitors based in Australia reignite live professional surfing across three events, the Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast (QLD), the Margaret River Pro (WA) and the Tweed Coast Pro (NSW).
Each event needs only two days to run and has a two month waiting period, which will allow WSL event directors to pinpoint the best conditions for each location.
2020 was supposed to be the comeback year for two-time WSL World Champion Tyler Wright until the season was cancelled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Having only competed once this year, the Australian Grand Slam of Surfing will be Wright's first opportunity to do battle against her compatriot CT surfers in 2020. Wright sees the forced time off as a huge benefit in her continued recovery.
"I was ready to go and prepared for a very big ask of my body," Wright said. "The trauma of the last few years has been really intense. But I've been really well supported. Which means my team is really well prepped with what I'll do to compete, the limits I'll go to and where I won't go. With that said, I'm as ready to compete as I've ever been. However, with these unforeseen circumstances, it has meant being at home and not having to push myself straight away."
The series will also play host to a number of ancillary events at each stop including the Juruki Indigenous Expression Session and ‘Locals Best of the Best Heat' (including a surfer from Juraki Surf Culture, Cabarita Boardriders, Kingscliff Boardriders, and Black Rocks Boardriders), where the men's and women's winner will be given a spot into the main event, at the Tweed Coast Pro.
In the West, Australian surfing legend Taj Burrow has accepted a wildcard in the men's draw, and Jake Paterson and Dave Macaulay will go head-to-head in a one-off Ultimate Wingman Session (Heritage Heat), while a 'Locals Best of the Best Heat' will be run (surfers TBC via a local trials event run by Surfing Western Australia). A WA female will also be awarded a wildcard place in the main draw.
All eyes will be on the Heritage Heat at the Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast as World Champions Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson take on good friends Bede Durbidge and Dean Morrison. The four surfers will face off in a winner takes all final where ultimate bragging-rights are on the line for some of world surfing's biggest ever names.
"This is going to be really fun," Fanning said. "I haven't really competed since my last event at Bells Beach in 2018 so it should be interesting but whenever I surf with Dean and Joel and those guys there is always an aspect of competitiveness even when we're free surfing. No doubt the other three will play down how seriously they're taking it but I'm sure once we're all there together something will ignite within. I'm excited that this event will be at South Straddie -- it's an amazing wave when it's on and offers everything a surfer would want which will make for an awesome show for the fans."
"For the current CT competitors this series will be really important for them to get back in the swing of things competition-wise," Fanning continued. "They will have been working on boards, strategy and their surfing in general so this will be a great opportunity to put it all to the test. Importantly, this series is huge for the fans."
The Australian Grand Slam of Surfing, part of The WSL Countdown, will see 24 of Australia's best surfers (12 men and 12 women) go head to head in their respective divisions. 11 male CT competitors and 8 female CT competitors will be on standby for each stop, some looking to compete for the first time in 2020. The remaining spots in each field will be allocated to the highest ranked 2019 non-qualifying Australian surfers or selected wildcard surfers.
Adding to the high stakes, men's and women's overall series champions will each win $20,000AUD to donate to a charity of their choice.
The Australian Grand Slam of Surfing will run across the nation between September 1 and October 31 and be broadcast live on worldsurfleague.com, Channel 7 (7Plus), Fox Sports Australia (Kayo) and Sky Sport NZ.
All events will only be called on and take place when in line with State Border restrictions and COVID-19 related policies in WA, QLD and NSW. WSL will continue to work with State Governments and event stakeholders to assess this continually changing situation.
The Australian Grand Slam of Surfing couldn't happen without the valued support of our partners including the NSW Government, Tourism Western Australia, Tourism and Events Queensland, City of Gold Coast, Boost Mobile, Jeep, Bonsoy, Hydro Flask, Harvey Norman, Wingman Beer, Red Bull, Seven Network, Fox Sports Australia and Sky Sport NZ.