- WSL / Thomas Bennett

New South Wales will host four World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) events that will form the brand new Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series in the early stages of 2021.

Once again Surfing NSW has joined forces with WSL, the NSW Government, through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW and Vissla to bring four QS events back to Boomerang Beach, Port Stephens, Maroubra and Avoca.

The four-event series will see two QS1000 rated events (Maroubra and Great Lakes), one men's and women's QS3000 (Central Coast) and one women's QS3000 (Port Stephens).

Earlier this year the WSL revealed a new format for 2021, which included creating distinct seasons between the QS (the regionalised development tier), the Challenger Series (the global battleground for Championship Tour qualification) and the Championship Tour (the world's best surfers competing for the World Title).

The new tour structure will provide a more streamlined and affordable career pathway for WSL athletes by allowing up-and-coming surfers to develop closer to home without financially overleveraging themselves. The new-look QS aims to reduce the economic pressure on surfers and their sponsors, as well as provide increased opportunities to celebrate local stars.

The 2021 Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series was launched today at Avoca by Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast and Member for Terrigal Adam Crouch who was joined by local Central Coast surfers Molly Picklum, Sandon Whittaker, Joel Vaughan and World Championship Tour coach and local Glenn "Micro" Hall.

"This QS3000 ranked event provides an even greater opportunity for professional surfers to earn points and is the only event of its kind in Australia," Mr Crouch said. "With hundreds of competitors and spectators expected to descend on Avoca, this six-day event will boost our local businesses, accommodation, restaurants and retail following what has been a really difficult year."

WSL Asia Pacific Tour Manager Will Hayden-Smith expressed his excitement at seeing the Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series return to the NSW coastline again in 2021.

"This will be the sixth year of WSL's involvement with the Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series and we couldn't be happier to see it all kick-off again in 2021," Hayden-Smith said. "With the new look regional Qualifying Series giving competitors a new path to the Challenger Series and Championship Tour, this series will play a more pivotal role in the career pathway for this regions surfers than ever before. WSL would like to thank all of the series partners that continue to support and develop these fantastic events."

Surfing NSW CEO Luke Madden said the Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series will continue to play a vital role for surfers as they aspire to qualify for the Challenger Series and the Championship Tour.

"Surfing NSW's intention of launching the Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series back in 2016 was to give Australian surfers the opportunity to get closer to qualifying for the Championship Tour," said Madden. "Now with the inclusion of the Challenger Series events and each region having an allocation of people who qualify, we're overjoyed to see a regional pathway for Australian competitors."

Vissla's John Mossop echoed Madden's sentiments and looks forward to seeing the series grow on the legacy it's already built.

"Over the years the series has created a tremendous building block for surfers who are aspiring to qualify for the Championship Tour," said Mossop. "People like Morgan Cibilic, Macy Callaghan, Connor O'Leary and Ethan Ewing have all used some stellar results on this series to propel them onto the world stage and it's something we want to see continue in the forthcoming years."

All events on the 2021 WSL Qualifying Series and the NSW Pro Surf Series QS events will be broadcast live at www.worldsurfleague.com and on the free WSL App. Be sure to tune in.

2021 Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series Event Schedule Event 1: Great Lakes Pro, Boomerang Beach, Tuesday 16 - Friday 19 February 2021. Event 2: Port Stephens Pro, Birubi Beach, Sunday 21 - Tuesday 23 February 2021. Event 3: Mad Mex Maroubra Pro, Maroubra Beach, Friday 26 - Sunday 28 February 2021. Event 4: Vissla Central Coast Pro, Avoca Beach, Tuesday 2 - Sunday 7 March 2021.

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