It was a huge start to the 2022 Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series last week at the Great Lakes Pro, Australia and New Zealand's top surfers have made their way south for the start of the Gage Gage Roads Port Stephens Pro at Birubi Beach (Worimi Country) this Sunday 27 February.

The four NSW events are part of the World Surf League (WSL) Qualification Series (QS) 1000 and 3000 points and qualifications pathway. Each play a critical role for the surfers aiming to qualify for the WSL Challenger Series and then the World Championship Tour.

The event will see new WSL Australia/Oceana leaders Nyxie Ryan (Lennox Head) and Joel Vaughan (North Shelly) take to the water to increase their lead, along with local wildcards and a very competitive field of athletes.

Local wildcards Jimmi Hill (14) and Jasmine Sampson (20) from Bay Area Boardriders Club are both feeling positive going into the event, especially with their home advantage.

"I'm so stoked to receive the wildcard for this event. The banks at Birubi are perfect right now and looking really good next week with swell around 3-5 feet and a ENE breeze. That's just the right conditions for Birubi, forecast for Monday. I can't wait to get out there," said Jimmi Hill.

Jasmine Sampson echoed the stoke saying. "I'm really grateful to have received this opportunity to surf at the Port Stephens Pro. I've been surfing at Birubi since I can remember so I have a good understanding of the wave and how it works, I think I can definitely use that to my advantage."

The WSL wildcards for the event are Maddy Job (Burleigh) who recently took out the 2022 Burleigh Single Fin event and former WCT surfer Paige Hareb (New Zealand) who is looking to requalify after a tough two years.

"After spending the last two years in New Zealand, I'm just so happy to have the chance to compete internationally again and try to qualify for the Challenger Series," said Hareb. "After two years off it's hard starting from the bottom again so I'm thankful to get the wildcard for the Port Stephens Pro and will be making the most of it."

2021 Port Stephens Pro Champions Jackson Baker (Merewether) who is competing in the World Championship Tour and Kobie Enright (Gold Coast) are not competing. However runner up Philippa Anderson (Merewether) will be hoping to go one better and take a win in 2022.

The event will run across three days and will be live webcast on Monday 28 Feb and Tuesday 1 March via Kayo Sports and the World Surf League.

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.

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