MEREWETHER, Newcastle, NSW/AUS (Saturday, February 21, 2015) – Quarterfinalists were decided in the World Surf League (WSL) QS6000 (Qualifying Series) men’s Burton Automotive Pro while the two Finalists were locked in for the Burton Automotive Women’s Classic. Newcastle once again delivered epic conditions with surf in the 4 – 6 foot range.
2012 World Champion and 2013 Surfest champion Joel Parkinson (QLD/AUS) booked a Quarterfinal berth after an exciting back and forth battle over 2015 Championship Tour (CT) rookie Keanu Asing (HAW). Asing had Parkinson on the ropes, but Parkinson answered back with a solid turn and a lofty aerial to earn to the score to take first position and Quarterfinal match-up against this year’s Hunter Business Boardriders Pro Junior champion Deivid Silva (BRA).
“Keanu (Asing) is on Tour this year so that was an important heat for my preparation for the year,” Parkinson said. “There were good waves out there, you just had to find them among the rest of the poor ones so we really had to work hard to get some good scores. I’m looking forward to Finals day.”
Jack Freestone (QLD/AUS) is well on his way to his best ever result at Surfest after he eliminated Connor O’Leary (NSW/AUS) in Round 5. Freestone and O’Leary are both precise and progressive surfers and their match-up didn’t disappoint as they threw caution to the wind on every exchange, but after the 25 minute heat it was Freestone who advanced with a scoreline of 13.27 (out of a possible 20) to O’Leary’s 11.90.
“I’m so pumped to be into the Quarterfinals,” Freestone said. “Connor (O’Leary) is technically perfect on his backhand and on this right hand bank he’s really hard to beat — hats off to him he’s had a great event. I just tried to use the same tactics I did at Sunset last year, just catch as many waves as I could and make sure that I finish them off.”
Evan Geiselman (USA) edged out Davey Cathels (NSW/AUS) by just over a point in a nail biter of a heat. With huge points and prize-money on the line all the surfers were battling on each and every wave to try and gain an advantage. Geiselman’s flair paid off as he finished off multiple waves with smooth aerials.
“I’m treating each heat like it’s a Final because there are so many good guys in this event,” Geiselman said. “Man-on-man heats are a little different, you really have to be on your game. I started that heat with a really good wave and I fell off. Then I just tried to stay busy while he (Davey Cathels) had priority and I ended up getting both my scores that way.”
Reigning World Junior Champion Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) has been in great form all week at Surfest and clocked an 8.40 on his last wave to book a Quarterfinal clash against Alejo Muniz (BRA). Ribeiro eliminated USA’s Michael Dunphy with his powerful and exciting approach.
“This is my first contest of the year so it’s great for me to be into the Quarterfinals,” Ribeiro said. “I’ve been training at home and I think that was really good for my preparation. Last year I was surfing without a major sponsor and now I have a Portugese brand supporting me and it’s given me confidence to go out and perform. The QS is great, there’s so many great surfers and it pushes you to be better.”
Newcastle’s own Philippa Anderson (NSW/AUS) advanced into the Final of the Burton Automotive Women’s Classic after eliminating Macy Callaghan (NSW/AUS) in the Semifinals. Anderson won this event back in 2009 and will be looking to get her second Surfest title tomorrow when she matches up against Ellie Brooks (QLD/AUS).
“I’m excited to make the Final and I really want to win tomorrow,” Anderson said. “The prize-money will be enough to keep me going to a big event in Mexico and of course it would be great for my confidence. Tomorrow will be a big day for me — for whatever reason I feel more focused on my competitive performances than ever. Macy (Callaghan) is a great young surfer — it’s great to see what she’s doing at just 14-years-old. She’s got a bright future ahead.”
About the 2015 Surfest Newcastle AUSTRALIA
The 2015 Surfest Newcastle Australia features international fields of competitive surfers in the Burton Automotive Pro ( World Surf League Men’s Qualifying Series 6000 point event), the Burton Automotive Womens Classic (World Surf League Women’s Qualifying Series 1000 point event) and the Hunter Business Boardriders Pro Junior (World Surf League Mens Regional Qualifying Series 1000 point event) along with 11 other surfing events. The event is made possible with the support of the Burton Automotive Group, the Hunter Business Boardriders, Newcastle City Council and the NSW Government through Destination NSW. In 2015, Surfest Newcastle Australia will, for the very first time, host events in three coastal local government areas in New South Wales’ Hunter Region – Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens.
Surfest Newcastle Australia commences on February 1 with trials in the Port Stephens local government area and concludes at Merewether beach on February 22 where another champion will add his name to the Mark Richards Perpetual Trophy that reads like a “Who’s Who” of professional surfing. Merewether beach is a recognised Australian National Surfing Reserve and home to festival patron and Australia’s most accomplished men’s world professional surfing champion, four-time world champion Mark Richards (1979-82).
2015 marks the festival’s 30th anniversary and with over 800 national and international competitors from more than two dozen countries, 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.