- WSL / Tom Bennett

The NSW Vissla Pro Surf Series 2023 is set to return to the pristine coastline of Port Stephens as the second stop for the NSW Qualifying Series (QS) from the 27th of February.

The elite three-day World Surf League (QSL) Qualifying Series 1000 event will commence just days after the action at the Camplify Great Lakes Pro QS3000 concludes making for a perfect NSW road trip. It is estimated that over 150 of Australia's top tier athletes will venture to the Port Stephens region to continue their quest to gain valuable points towards their overall QS ranking.

Each year, the Surfers Rescue 24/7 Port Stephens Pro competition shifts between One Mile Beach and Birubi Beach, depending on the swell each day. Needless to say, the east-facing beaches of the area have continued to produce incredible conditions for the athletes to showcase their focused strategies and fierce talent.

The Port Stephens region has become a surfers' hotspot along the NSW Coastline not just for the elite but for families, ocean enthusiasts and beginners. Through the summer months, the beaches are shared by the friendly local community and excited tourists.

Port Stephens Council Mayor, Ryan Palmer said he is elated to see the Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series return to the region to further cement it as a top destination for surf tourism in Australia.

"We're excited to welcome people to Port Stephens again after a couple of challenging years. We know this event makes a huge contribution to our local economy, and we're grateful to have visitors coming to our region to enjoy the event, our beautiful beaches and our welcoming hospitality. It's great for our community, great for tourism, and shines a light on this awesome sport!" Mayor Ryan Palmer said.

Local surfer and QS contender Jasmine Sampson echoed Palmer's sentiments adding that Port Stephens is such an incredible destination to host a QS event.

"I'm really excited that the QS event is coming back to Port Stephens, it's great to be able to surf at my local beach and show the other competitors and tourists that come to watch the event, how great my backyard really is."

"It is so important for my own campaign and strategy in 2023 to have an event in my backyard. It offers me the opportunity to use my local experience and years of surfing the breaks as an advantage in my heats and I can't wait to paddle out and look back onto the beach to see my local boardrider club and locals cheer us all on." Sampson explained.

This year, the Port Stephens Pro is sponsored by Surfers Rescue 24/7. A government supported program that is offering all surfers in NSW the opportunity to do a free CPR and board rescue course. Be it a patrolled or unpatrolled beach across NSW, surfers are on the beach from dawn to dusk, 365 days a year where surfers are often responsible for hundreds of thousands of rescues. The Surfers Rescue 24/7 course offers surfers the chance to upskill and gain life saving skills that could assist in saving a life.

Surfing NSW Head of Programs and Community Matt Lawson said he is thrilled that Surfers Rescue 24/7 is able to align with such an elite event in the Port Stephens area.

"Previously, Surfers Rescue 24/7 has hosted successful and highly engaged Surfers Rescue courses to local boardrider clubs, surf schools and primary schools in Port Stephens. It is amazing that our program can work side by side a Qualifying Series event and share the vital skills the program provides to more of the curious local community and elite surfers from around the country in such a beautiful pocket of the NSW coastline." Lawson said.

Surfing NSW CEO Luke Madden continued to detail Surfing NSW's gratitude towards the Port Stephens community for always welcoming the Port Stephens Pro with open arms.

"It is incredible that Port Stephens Council and the community allow us the opportunity to organise an event of this calibre for Australia's best up-and-coming athletes to compete in. Every year we are spoilt with the best surf conditions that each competitor thoroughly enjoys competing in and for the local community that come down to show their support, we are ever so grateful." Madden said.

The Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series 2023 is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW

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