A total of 76 surfers contested the Port Stephens Toyota trials on February 2 at Birubi beach hoping to secure wildcard entries into a range of Surfest events.
Conditions varied throughout the day, with early morning heats providing challenging waves in the 4-6ft range courtesy of a new swell fanned by cross shore winds, while later heats saw good conditions as the wind backed off and the swell settled.
Twenty-four surfers – including former and current world Surf League Qualifying Series competitors – sought the coveted wildcard into next month’s 6000 point Burton Automotive Pro slotted for Merewether beach.
Liam Mortenson from Avalon won the final after a count-back, squeezing out James McMoreland from Caves Beach.
The 22-year-old Mortenson, whose best win to date was a 1500 point QS in Japan in 2017, hopes this win will give him the boost he needs to get his competitive aspirations back on track.
“I missed a lot of QS events last year through injury so this is a big comeback for me. I’m going to give the Burton Pro a real crack and hopefully this will set me up for a strong 2019 on the QS,”: he said
Rising local surfer Elle Clayton-Brown won the wild card into the Holmes Civil Developments Women’s Pro. The 17-year-old from Anna Bay, who took out the 2017 Billabong Oz Grom Cup, said this win is the result of a targeted campaign.
“I’ve been trying to win the wildcard for a couple of years so I’m really happy to get it. I will go to Merewether prepared and am looking to put in a good performance,” she said.
Wildcards into the Lake Mac City Pro Junior Men’s were won by 15-year-old Mikey Clayton-Brown (Anna Bay) and 17-year-old Sasha Baker from Mudjimba on the Sunshine Coast. The Lake Mac City Pro Junior will be contested next weekend (February 9 and 10) at Redhead beach.
Divisional winners into the Sanbah Cadet Cup presented by the University of Newcastle – slotted for the weekend of March 9 and 10 at Merewether beach – were also determined at Birubi beach and included:
U/16 Boys: Jordan Liackman (Caves Beach)
U/16 Girls: Ellie Lambkin (Merewether)
U/14 Boys: Xavier Bruce (Warriewood)
Surfest 2019 Schedule at www.surfest.com