- WSL / Steve Robertson

Sydney is preparing for its biggest surfing event of the year the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing at Manly Beach. This award winning World Surf League (WSL) event sees the world's best surfers fighting of all-important Qualifying Series (QS) points and prize-money in Men's and Women's QS6000 divisions. The event will begin tomorrow starting with the Junior Tour (JT) men's and women's divisions where Australasia's best young surfers will kick off proceedings, giving us a front row seat to see the future surfing stars of the Asia Pacific region.

This year's event will see reigning six-time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) compete for the first time since winning her sixth crown in Maui, Hawaii last year. The rest of the top five female surfers will also be out to capture the prestigious event title including Tyler Wright (AUS), Carissa Moore (HAW), Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) and Malia Manuel (HAW).

On the men's side of things three-time World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) will be the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing's No. 1 seed and will be competing at this event for his first time. American surfer Kolohe Andino (USA) continued his impressive form from last season to win the first QS event of 2015 on home soil in California last month and as No. 2 seed at this event will be one to watch as the event moves toward the later rounds.

The event has also handed out wildcards to ensure that the region's most exciting up-and-coming talent get a chance to mix it with the world's best. Last year's Australasia JT No. 1 and 2 Soli Baliley and Jacob Willcox will get a start in the seeded Round of 96 and younger brother of Owen and Tyler — Mikey Wright received a wildcard into the Round of 144.

“I'm stoked to get a run with some of the best surfers in the world,” Mikey Wright said. “I can't wait to get in the water at Manly and surf my first heat for the year. Thanks to the team at WSL Australasia for showing faith in me. I hope I can repay that with a good showing.”

See the action LIVE at www.AustralianOpenofSurfing.com.

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