- WSL / Ethan Smith

The 2021 Great Lakes Pro pres. by Surfers Rescue 24/7 - stop one on the Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series - will kickstart an action-packed year of surfing in Australia from tomorrow until 19 February 2021. The elite four-day World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 1000 rated event will form the first of four stops on the Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series.

In 2020, 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. Athletes will compete in their regional QS tour in hopes of qualifying for the Challenger Series (CS), and ultimately the Championship Tour, which will reduce the economic pressure on surfers and their sponsors, as well as provide increased opportunities to celebrate local stars.

The QS will run from January through to July 2021 and determine who has qualified for the CS, which will run from August through to December 2021. Each region will have an allocation of surfers that can qualify for the CS through their regional tour. Athletes will be able to roll over points from 2020 QS events into the current season. Australia/Oceania will receive an allocation of ten men's and eight women's spots onto the Challenger Series based on the regional QS rankings.

Member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead said the NSW Government is proud to support the Great Lakes Pro, which has been a highlight on the summer events calendar for the past five years.

"After a challenging year, I'm delighted to welcome back the Great Lakes Pro - the event plays a significant role in not only showcasing our spectacular surfing beaches but also boosting local businesses with tourism dollars," Mr Bromhead said. "The Great Lakes are looking forward to again welcoming competitors and spectators to Boomerang Beach this February for another incredible event."

Local Boomerang Beach Boardriders Club wildcards are Ross Cadden and Charlize Everitt.

The Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series was developed for Australian and International surfers to gain ranking points and prize money on the WSL Qualifying Series. The series also creates a NSW coastal road trip for all to explore the variety of waves, visit local communities and enjoy NSW surfing culture.

The Great Lakes Pro pres. by Surfers Rescue 24/7, stop 1 on the 2021 Australian Qualifying Series leg will run from February 16 to 19. Head to www.worldsurfleague.com or the free WSL App for more information and to watch the event LIVE.

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