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Surfest 2017 WSL 6000 Women’s Pro crowd-funding opportunities open

2016 Surfest Women's champ Sally Fitzgibbons with Steph Gilmore, Tatiana Weston-Webb and Philippa Anderson at the crowd-funding sponsor cocktail party.  Pic:

Riding waves of success
The world’s top female athletes will return to Merewether in 2017 thanks to a groundswell of support from Newcastle’s business community, who are paving the way for women’s surfing globally.

Off the back of last year’s success the Surfest Women’s Pro has grown in popularity and will see an increased number of competitors making their way down the sand at Merewether Beach in 2017, fighting for the iconic Surfest Women’s Pro title.

The event is laying the foundations for women’s surfing globally and creating opportunities for local pro surfer Philippa Anderson, and local up-and-comer, Ellie Clayton-Brown – two of Newcastle’s most successful female surfers.

The 2017 field has grown from 72 to 84 surfers and the new-and-improved crowd-funding effort for will see 85 x $1650 shares (plus GST) snapped up by businesses eager to take advantage of additional perks not offered in the 2016 model. The new additions include a $10,000 marketing budget for the naming-rights sponsor, increased prize pool for the Surfer Draw, surfer meet-and-greats, a barrel draw luncheon and business workshops.


Colin Law, the regional executive manager for the Commonwealth Bank, was the driving force behind the crowd-funding campaign in 2016 and is looking to the business community once again in support for the 2017 Women’s Pro event

“Last year’s global success was a world-first for a WSL (World Surfing League) event and was the talk of the surfing world leading up to the 2016 finals week.” Colin said.

Contest Director Warren Smith said last year was a huge success and this year’s improvements will only provide more benefits to shareholders.

“We launched the campaign two weeks ago and immediately had 38 expressions of interest. We’re almost halfway there and that’s before going to media or promoting it in any way,” Warren said.

“Last year’s crowd-funding campaign was by many measures, the most successful event in Surfest’s 31-year history.”

The crowd-funding effort ensures the Surfest Women’s Pro retains it QS 6000 status, resulting in more prize money, larger audiences and stronger competition with 84 surfers competing for a total prize pool of $50,000 USD.

“Retaining a QS 6000 rating means the top seed surfers from across the world will be in Newcastle for Surfest in 2017. It places Newcastle on the world stage and broadcasts our region to a worldwide audience of more than 442,000,” Warren said.

“The crowd-funding effort is invaluable to the event. It benefits Surfest, offers plenty of perks for shareholders and is a massive boost for tourism.”

The 2017 crowd-funding campaign has retained key elements from its maiden year with a number of enhancements.

All shareholders will be invited to a Friday luncheon where the naming-rights backer will be drawn.

All 85 shares will go in a draw to become the naming-rights sponsor of the contest valued at $85,000. The winner of the sponsor draw will also receive a $10,000 marketing and PR budget to take full advantage of the opportunity.

Each shareholder gains two tickets to a cocktail function the week of the contest and is allocated a surfer who competes in the event. The businesses with the top four finishers in the event share a minimum prize pool of $12,000.

During Surfest finals week shareholders will have the opportunity to attend the sponsors-only corporate lunches and take behind-the-scenes tours of the contest area.