World number 6 Joel Parkinson to compete in Burton Automotive Pro at Surfest Newcastle Australia

Merewether, Newcastle, New South Wales, AUSTRALIA (Tuesday, January 6, 2015).

WORLD number six Joel Parkinson has today confirmed with Surfest organisers that he will definitely compete in the Burton Automotive Pro at the event’s 30th anniversary at Merewether beach next month.

Proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW, Surfest will showcase both the best surfers and the sport’s future champions at Merewether beach, Newcastle.

“Parko”, the 2012 world surfing champion and 2013 Surfest champion, told organisers that Surfest will be his only professional competitive outing before the 2015 World Surf League (WSL) – formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour – gets underway at Snapper Rocks in March.

While entries for both the 6000 point (formerly six-star) Burton Automotive Pro (February 16-22) and the 1000 point (formerly one-star) Burton Automotive Womens Classic (February 18-22) do not close until January 20, almost 130 surfers from around the globe have already committed to the event, creating a minor organisational issue for organisers.

Surfest chief Warren Smith says the demand at this stage for a competitor’s singlet indicates there almost certainly be a need for trials to determine the final 144 surfers that will start in the Burton Automotive Pro.

“Sure, we are facing some organisational issues but such a challenge is one any surf contest would be happy to have. It is terrific that Surfest’s 30th anniversary will most likely require international trials at Dixon Park beach on Sunday February 15,” Mr Smith said.

“While there is always a rush to meet the deadline in the last 72 hours before entries close, it is incredible to see the breadth of interest and already we have competitors from 20 countries including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, France, French Polynesia, Guadeloupe, Hawaii, Indonesia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Peru, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, United Kingdom, Uruguay and the USA.”

Long serving WSL official Al Hunt says such a trial could accommodate 32 surfers on that day with 16 spots reserved for international surfers.

“Those 32 surfers would be competing for four spots in the round of 144. If there are more than 32 surfers vying for a place in the trials then rankings will determine the make-up,” Mr Hunt said.

WSL surfers including reining Surfest champion Matt Banting (AUS) and 2010 champ Glenn Hall (IRL) have secured their entries, as have Hawaiian trio Sebastian Zietz, Keanu Asing and Fredrick Patacchia.

Surfest’s 2011 champion Dion Atkinson and twice world junior champion Jack Freestone will also be in the running to claim the 30th anniversary title.

The Burton Automotive Womens Classic has already attracted more than 50 entries from 12 nations. Entries close on January 20.

The Mens Regional Qualifying Series 1000 point Hunter Business Boardriders Pro Junior (February 13-15) has drawn over 100 entries from 10 nations. Entries close on January 13.