Surfest’s Port Stephens Toyota Wildcard Trials won by Joel Vaughan and Tru Starling

Birubi Point, NSW – January 25th, 2020

PIC: Tru Starling (AUS) by Dave Turner

Joel Vaughan from North Shelly on the Central Coast North and Narrabeen’s Tru Starling have both won wildcard spots into Surfest’s main events following today’s Port Stephens Toyota Wildcard Trials held at Birubi beach.

Around 50 surfers contested 24 heats in waves up to a metre that were fanned by cross shore winds.

Joel Vaughan’s win sees him catapulted into the round of 96 in the Surfest Newcastle Pro presented by Burton Automotive – a World Surf League Qualifying Series event to be held at Merewether Beach from 2-8 March.

It was a big day for the trio of Vaughan brothers. Joel edged out brother Curtis in today’s final, while younger brother Hugh won both the under-14 and under-16 events to secure the wildcard into those divisions in the Sanbah Cadet Cup slotted for South Bar Beach from 22-23 February.

Joel, who has two Aussie junior titles under his belt, continued the form he showed last weekend on the Gold Coast when he took second place at last weekend’s Hydralyte Sports Queensland Pro Junior.

“This is a really big achievement for me. It’s great to get into a QS 5000. I wouldn’t have got into it otherwise and it’s really good points. Hopefully, I can try and surf my best and do as well as I can,” Joel said.

“I’ve surfed in a 3000 before at Avoca but a 5000 is a really big step up.”

North Narrabeen’s Tru Starling took out the women’s wildcard and will go into the round of 48 in the Doyle Partners Womens Pro – a World Surf League Qualifying Series event to be held at Merewether Beach from 2-8 March

“I feel over the moon about winning today. I’ve worked pretty hard last year and this year. Being put straight into the round of 48 and getting those points is really important to me.

“Being able to achieve that is really exciting,” Tru said.

Surfest organiser Warren Smith said the quality of surfing continues to improve every year in these trials.

“This will be the 35th Surfest and it still blows me away at how much the youngsters coming through the ranks see the opportunity a wildcard into advanced rounds in a QS 5000 offers,” he said.

The next Surfest surfing event is next weekend’s ORICA Teams Challenge to be held at Stockton where Frenchman’s Boardriders, the reigning champions, will defend their 2019 title.