James McMorland and Sarah Phelan dealt wildcards at Port Stephens Toyota Trials

MORE than 50 local surfers donned competitor singlets at Burubi beach on Sunday and vied for a coveted wildcard into Surfest’s biggest events that attract many of the world’s best surfers.

Surfers were contesting for wildcards in the Burton Toyota Pro, the Hunter Ports Women’s Classic and the Hunter Business Board Riders Pro Junior, while the U/16s and U/14s were competing for free entry into their divisions in the Sanbah Cadet Cup and the Dalton Lawyers Girls Cadet Cup.

Hosted by the Bay Area Boardriders for the past five years, the Port Stephens Toyota Trials is exclusive to surfers residing between Hawks Nest and Catherine Hill Bay.

The 2014 Men’s Open saw 16 competitors – including three surfers with extensive experience of the gruelling Association of Surfing Professionals World Qualifying Series tour – working the 1-1.5 metre swells fanned mostly by cross shore northerly winds. Early conditions allowed for some powerful surfing, with a number of scores above 9 being etched on the score sheets.

But it was 18-year-old James McMorland from Caves Beach who won the competition and a start in the round of 96 in the Burton Toyota Pro and a chance to win the coveted MR trophy.

But before that, James has the Hunter Business Board Riders Pro Junior to contest starting next Friday. His best result to date at this elite level of competition is making it through to the third round.

In the women’s competition, Sarah Phelan from Merewether successfully defended her win in the same competition in 2013 and catapults into the round of 48 in the Hunter Ports Womens Classic.

The Hunter Business Boardriders Pro Junior will see Anna Bay’s Kurtis Herman elevated into the business end of the competition after taking out the junior level.

Results for Port Stephens Trials at Birubi Beach on Sunday 9 February 2014:
Men’s Open
1. James McMorland (Caves Beach)
2. Ned Smart (Stockton)
3. Kurtis Herman (Anna Bay)
Women’s Open
1. Sarah Phelan (Merewether)
2. Danielle Hancock
3. Ruby Bortolus
Junior Men’s
1. Kurtis Herman (Anna Bay)
2. Kieran Conway (Caves beach)
3. Buddy Hanlon (Redhead)
Junior Women’s
1. Georgia Petit (Bay Area Boardriders)
2. Danielle Hancock (Catherine Hill Bay)
3. Emma Cram (Bay Area Boardriders)
U/16 Boys
1. Zane Clifford (Bay Area Boardriders)
2. Morgan Cibilic (Merewether)
3. Max McGaw (Bay Area Boardriders)
U/16 Girls
1. Danielle Hancock (Catherine Hill Bay)
2. Sabre Norris (Merewether)
3. Madison Poole (Bar Beach)
U/14 Boys
1. Connor Lee (Redhead)
2. Dylan Platford (Bay Area Boardriders)
3. Joey Voyzey (Bay Area Boardriders)