NEWCASTLE will again host some of the nation’s best surfers – a little earlier than usual – after it was confirmed on Wednesday as host city for the Australian Boardriders Battle (ABB) national final in 2018.
The club competition decider, now in its fifth year, came to Newcastle beach for the first time last February and featured as a lead-in to Surfest’s main events at Merewether Beach. The ABB final featured 10 championship tour competitors, including world champions Stephanie Gilmore, Joel Parkinson and Tyler Wright, and finished with a dominant display from Avoca.
The final was held at Cronulla for the first three years of the ABB and Newcastle was expected to have a similar run as host. Surfing Australia confirmed the schedule on Wednesday which included the 24-club final at Newcastle from February 16-18.
"For the second year running, Newcastle City Council is proud to support the event that decides the best boardriding club in Australia," NCC interim CEO Jeremy Bath said in a statement. "It's a great warm up for Newcastle Surfest, the event we've supported as a major sponsor for several decades. This year visitors are going to see some incredible improvements along our coastline after a $10 million civil works program in the city's east and as the local building boom continues."
Surfing Australia boss Andrew Stark said that Newcastle was a “great location” and “worked for us”.
“There was a lot of good feedback from the surfers, especially the WSL surfers, about the venue, the vibe in the town, the waves, the set-up and the accommodation,” he said.
Regional qualifiers start on the Gold Coast on August 26. Hunter clubs get their chance at North Narrabeen on September 23.
Newcastle clubs get a second chance to qualifying at host regional wildcard trials on February 16, where one club gains a spot in the national final.
There are $150,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs for clubs, including $24,000 split between eight state events and $82,000 on offer at the national final. The winners take home $20,000 and a $30,000 overseas trip for six surfers. This year there are an additional $14,000 in prizes across the series.
The schedule is:
EVENT 1 - Gold Coast, QLD - August 26, 2017
EVENT 2 – NSW South - Kiama, NSW - Sept 2, 2017
EVENT 3 - NSW Central - North Narrabeen, NSW - Sept 23, 2017
EVENT 4 - NSW Nth - Coffs Harbour, NSW - Oct 7, 2017
EVENT 5 - Trigg, WA - Oct 21, 2017
EVENT 6 - Fleurieu Peninsula, SA - Nov 11, 2017
EVENT 7 - Phillip Island, VIC - Dec 9, 2017
EVENT 8 - Clifton Beach, TAS - Dec 16, 2017
NATIONAL FINAL – Newcastle Beach, NSW – Feb 16-18, 2017