Waves of opportunties TweetFacebook Surfest launch at Redhead Beach on January 27Pictures by Josh CallinanTheyarrive at different stages of their careersbut all four Hunter surfers are united in pursuit of the same goal.
Philippa Anderson, Elle Clayton-Brown, Jake Sylvester and Ryan Callinan will carry the hopes of becoming a home-grown Surfest champion while using next month’s event to lay a platform for the year ahead.
At Friday’s official launch Callinan said he woulduse Surfest as the first step towards regaining a spot on the World Surf League championship tour following his rookie season in 2016.
The 24-year-old from Merewether finished 34th and missed automatic re-entry so will strive to return by collecting points at qualifying school competition, starting with a familiar break from February 20 featuring the likes of title holder Matt Wilkinson, 2012world champion Joel Parkinson and 2014 Surfest winner Matt Banting.
“They’re all important [events] in their own way, but this one starts the year and can help you build confidence,” Callinansaid.
“And with the names that are coming downit would be awesome to get a result insuch a strong field.”
Callinan, who will start Surfest at the round of 64, said last year was an important learning curve forhis career in the water.
“I felt like Iwas ready, but I don’t think I was as prepared as what I thought,” he said.
“Seeing everyone on top of their game all the timereally lifted my level and I got alot out of it. But now I know you have to take every opportunity, you can’t let any slip by, because everyone capitalises so well. Everything has to be on point.”
Anderson, 25 of Merewether, wants to make her long-awaited breakthrough onto the World Surf League championships tour and next month will be up against fellow former Surfest champions Stephanie Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons.
“There’s always a goal in the back of my mind to make the world tour, but over the years I’ve started to understand that you can’t think too far ahead,” she said. “It’s a marathon not a sprint.”
Sylvester, 23 of Bar Beach, and Clayton-Brown, 15 of Corlette, arrive as wildcards after claiming trial events at One Mile Beach on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Lake MacFestival ofSurfing will be held this weekend before a host of other lead-up events.