City of Newcastle joins the line-up with new international surfing event

06 Feb 2021

Newcastle will launch the Australian leg of the world pro surfing tour, with 52 of the best surfers from across the globe set to converge on the city in April.

City of Newcastle in partnership with the NSW Government through tourism and major events agency Destination NSW has secured the new event kicking off at Merewether Beach from the start of April as the first Australian stop on the World Surf League (WSL)’s revamped 2021 Championship Tour (CT).

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the WSL event was a massive coup for Newcastle, providing a major boost to the tourism sector by promoting the city and our coastline on the world stage.

“It’s been wonderful to work collaboratively with the NSW Government, Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres to attract the premier international world surfing league event back to NSW and Newcastle,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Their support and advocacy were vital as we worked alongside the great team at Destination NSW to secure what is a massive coup for our state and our city, and we thank them for their expertise and assistance.

The WSL event will be fantastic, not only for the region’s sports lovers, but for its potential flow-on effects for our visitor economy.

“The event will bring a major influx of competitors, media representatives, event officials and fans to our city throughout April, delivering an estimated benefit of more than $15 million to Newcastle’s economy.

“It will also provide invaluable promotion for future tourism by showcasing Newcastle to a global audience of more than 10 million viewers, with the event to be livestreamed across various platforms and broadcast on Channel 7 and Fox Sports.”

Cr Nelmes said City of Newcastle has a long and proud history of supporting top level international surfing contests, having been heavily involved in the establishment of Surfest in 1985 (then known as the BHP Steel International), which was the world’s richest professional surfing event at the time.

In the last decade, Newcastle has cemented its reputation for hosting a variety of prominent Australian and international events across various sporting codes.

“Newcastle has become a destination of choice for major sporting events, including Surfest, the recent SAANZAR Rugby Championship, Supercars Newcastle 500, the 2015 Asian Cup Football tournament, the A-League Grand Final and various rugby union and league Test Matches,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Newcastle is highly regarded in international surf circles as the home of Surfest, the largest surfing festival in the southern hemisphere, which includes WSL qualifying series events.

“With a prize pool of over $1 million across the men’s and women’s contests, this new championship event will elevate Mereweather’s popular break even further, joining an international pro touring schedule stacked with the top surfing destinations across the globe in a sport that is new addition to the Olympics.”

“We’re pleased the WSL event will tap into the local expertise of Surfest organiser Warren Smith and look forward to welcoming athletes and surfing fans from across Australia to Newcastle for this COVID Safe event in April.”