Newcastle, NSW, Australia, Tuesday 22nd January 2013.
WORLD number two Sally Fitzgibbons will defend her 2012 Hunter Ports Women’s Classic crown next month in Newcastle.
The 22-year-old – who in 2012 was voted by her peers as the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) “Surfers’ Surfer” – has confirmed with organisers she will be a certain starter at Surfest.
“I’ve spent so many years competing at Surfest as a junior and it was great to win there last year,” the runner-up to the ASP world women’s title in 2010, 2011 and 2012 said.
“Surfest has a special place in my heart. Last year I had a tough knockout at Snapper so the win at Newcastle gave me the opportunity to get confident with my equipment across a range of conditions and that confidence boost set me up well for my win at Bells.
“I feel I learnt a lot during the 2012 events and will be putting that knowledge to the test this year.
“In the off-season I worked consistently on my fitness and surfing and can’t wait for the competition to start,” Fitzgibbons said.
The CEO of the Hunter Sports Group Troy Palmer said it was terrific to see Fitzgibbons coming back to Newcastle to defend her title.
“HSG welcome back world number two Sally Fitzgibbons as she attempts to defend her title against some of the best women surfers in the world.
“HSG is proud to once again support the Hunter Ports Women’s Classic which will not only showcase Newcastle’s great beaches but some amazing talent.
“In our third year of support it is particularly encouraging to see this tournament go from having its survival threatened to now being a truly International event with record numbers of entrants.
Minister for Tourism and Major Events, George Souris, also welcomed the return of Fitzgibbons to the event.
“The return of high calibre competitors such as New South Wales’ Sally Fitzgibbons demonstrates the high regard in which Surfest is held by the surfing community.”
“I encourage all surfing fans to visit Surfest and see the world-class competition in action at Newcastle’s beaches,” Mr Souris said.
State MP for Newcastle Tim Owen said Newcastle had a rich and proud sporting history and the people of the region had a strong love of high-performance surfing.
“It’s terrific for spectators and organisers that world number two Sally Fitzgibbons will be back to defend the Hunter Ports title she won here in 2012.
“Sally has shown a long-standing commitment to Newcastle and Surfest and has won both junior and open events here,” he said.
“As the local member, I am really pleased to be able help throw my support behind Surfest and congratulate the ongoing ability of organisers to get the best surfers in the world competing at this prestigious festival of surfing.
“Events such as Surfest highlight our beautiful beaches, our wonderful lifestyle and help cement Newcastle’s place on the map of iconic Australian cities,” Mr Owen said.
For further information contact Warren Smith on 0412 127 525.
About the 2013 Surfest Newcastle Australia
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 or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.