Joel Parkinson surfing at last year’s Burton Toyota Pro in Newcastle. Pic Sproule/RedMonkey
MEREWETHER, Newcastle, NSW/Australia (Saturday, February 16, 2013) – This year’s Burton Toyota Pro and Hunter Ports Women’s Classic boast an incredible line-up of International and Australian surfers lead by current ASP World Champions Joel Parkinson and Stephanie Gilmore.
Parkinson and Gilmore have chosen Surfest at Newcastle, Australia to open their 2013 season and fine-tune their preparations for their ASP World Title defense.
Parkinson is a regular competitor in Newscastle and the popular Australian world champion is spot-on ready to resume competitive surfing.
“I always love coming back to surf the Newcastle event. The city has such a great feel and I’ve got a lot of good friends here and the waves are always pretty good too. It’s a real surf city, and when MR (Mark Richards) is the patron of the event it’s always a bit of an honour to come and surf it” said Parkinson.
“Because of the change in the calendar this year Newcastle is going to be my warm up event before the ASP World Championship Tour starts at Snapper, so I’m really looking forward to getting back in the water and surfing a heat. When I surfed my last heat of 2012, the Pipe Masters final, I just felt like surfing more heats. I really did. I had so much fun surfing heats last year and embracing the challenge of surfing heats that I’ve really been looking forward to getting back in the water and surfing my first heat of the year, which is now going to be in Newcastle – I can’t wait.”
Stephanie Gilmore is similarly ready to resume having had a much longer break with the last Women’s ASP World Championship event back in August 2012.
“It’s been an extremely fun filled break but I’m excited to get started on the 2013 season and it’s always great to kick it off at such a long standing event on the ASP calendar” said Gilmore who has just returned from surfing perfect surf in a remote area of the Pacific and should be in ideal form for this event.
Two other ASP World Champions line-up here, both Australians, and they are the current ASP World Junior Champions Jack Freestone and Nikki Van Dijk. For these two emerging stars the stakes at Surfest are high as they desperately chase the valuable World Tour rating points on offer at these six-star events.
“There’s a real buzz around Newcastle that this year’s Surfest will host the four reigning ASP world surfing champions Joel Parkinson, Stephanie Gilmore, Jack Freestone and Nikki Van Dijk,” Surfest chief Warren Smith said.
“The fact they are all Aussies is something special, but what’s really unique this year is having Joel enter the surf at Merewether for his first ASP event since claiming the ASP World Title. That’s a terrific boost for the 6-Star Burton Toyota Pro.”
A huge and talented field across Men’s and Women’s makes for an amazing week of competitive surfing which will eventually see two surfers crowned champions for 2013 after next weekends finals and receive prestigious trophies from one of surfing’s all time greats and Newcastle’s own Mark Richards.
Joel Parkinson and Stephanie Gilmore will be available for interview to members of the media at the official Press Conference at Merewether Surfhouse, Henderson Parade, Merewether on Tuesday, February 19 at 1pm.
The 2013 Surfest Newcastle Australia features the Burton Toyota Pro (Men’s ASP 6-Star) and the Hunter Ports Women’s Classic (Women’s ASP 6-Star), along with eight supporting events. The event is made possible with the support of Burton Toyota, the Hunter Sports Sports Group, Newcastle City Council and the NSW Government through Destination NSW. Surfest Newcastle Australia is conducted over 12 days from February 13-24 at Merewether beach, a recognised Australian National Surfing Reserve. Merewether is home to festival patron and Australia’s most accomplished men’s world professional surfing champion, four-time world champion Mark Richards (1979-82) and presents the winner a trophy in his likeness. 2013 marks the festival’s 28th year and with over 800 national and international competitors, Surfest Newcastle Australia is the largest festival of surfing in the southern hemisphere. Get up-to-the minute updates, photos and interviews, as well as the program of events at surfest.com ; follow us on Facebook or Twitter and download the BOXT app from the App Store or Google Play (four digit code SURF).