Western Australia’s Premier Colin Barnett has announced that the Teslstra Drug Aware Margaret River Pro has been promoted to a World Championship Tour event by the Association of Surfing Professionals for the 2014 season.
“This is a fantastic outcome for Western Australia and in particular to the Margaret River region, as it will drive visitation and provide priceless international exposure,” Mr Barnett explained. “ASP WCT status guarantees that the top 34 ranked male and top 17 ranked female surfers in the world will compete at Margaret River, with the competition expanding to 12 days from the current seven. National and international media coverage is also expected to at least double to an estimated media equivalency value of $50 million.”
With additional funding from Royalties for Regions’ Regional Events Program and support from the state government, Eventscorp solidified Surfing WA’s bid for ASP WCT status. According to the tourism minister, Dr. Kim Hames, Margaret River’s Surfers Point is confirmed as a world class surfing destination by upgrading their Drug Aware Pro to ASP WCT status.
“Even as a Prime rated event, the sport’s second tier tour, the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro has been an outstanding success, especially in recent years. But WCT status will elevate Margaret River to the elite level alongside iconic surf locations like Hawaii’s Banzai Pipeline and Teahupo’o in Tahiti,” says Dr Hames.
The women’s tour will take on Margaret River first in 2013 with the men to follow in 2014. The ASP WCT licenses for both men’s and women’s tour will extend until 2017.
“ASP is very pleased to announce the sanctioning of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro as a WCT event in the coming years,” Renato Hickel, ASP WCT Manager, said. “Margaret River is a longstanding event on the ASP World Tour and a favorite stop for many of the world’s top men’s and women’s surfers already. We are pleased to add such a quality event and location to our elite World Championship Tour.”
ASP World Championship Tour competitor, Taj Burrow (AUS), looks forward to the future of competition at his home region in Western Australia.
“This is an exciting time for Margaret River,” Burrow said. “The waves in the region are world class and to bring the ASP WCT-level surfers here is going to be big for the region. I get jealous of Mick (Fanning) and Joel (Parkinson) every year for having an event at their home and the advantage of getting to sleep in their beds and surf their local spots. I’m sure all the kids out West will be excited to see the world’s best surfers in their backyard.”
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), five-time ASP Women’s WCT Champion, will commence sanctioning of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro this coming season in 2013.
The Minister for Regional Development, Brendon Grylls, believes that the increase in status of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro to the WCT will facilitate a multitude of regional development outcomes, fitting with the goal of Royalties for Regions.
“Events make a valuable contribution towards building strong sustainable regional communities that are desirable places to live because they improve the social amenity, add excitement, attract visitation and bolster local economies,” Mr. Grylls said. “The WCT upgrade also links perfectly with the $4 million upgrade of facilities at Surfers Point funded by Royalties for Regions’ Supertowns initiative.”
ASP International will release a full 2013 schedule this week.