Western Australia's most well-known surfing event, the Margaret River Drug Aware Pro, has been granted World Championship Tour status by the Association of Surfing Professionals.
The announcement has been welcomed as a major boost for tourism in WA as the World Championship Tour status guarantees that the top 32 ranked male and 18 ranked female surfers will compete in Margaret River.
Tourism Minister Kim Hames said the WCT status confirmed the reputation of Margaret River’s Surfers Point as a world class surfing destination.
“Elevation to WCT status will bring Margaret River in line with 10 of the top surfing locations in the world, including Hawaii’s Banzai Pipeline and Teahupoo in Tahiti,” Dr Hames said.
The state government supported Surfing WA’s bid for WCT status through Eventscorp, with an additional $4 million in funding from the Royalties for Regions regional events program.
The upgraded status of the event also means the competition will run over a 12-day window, an increase from the current seven.
Surfing WA CEO Mark Lane said the announcement was an exciting change for surfing on both an international and local level.
Yallingup local and perennial ASP World Title contender, Taj Burrow, will lead the world’s best surfers to his home region.
“This is an exciting time for Margaret River,” Burrow said.
“The waves in the region are world class and to bring the WCT-level surfers here is going to be big for the region. I’m sure all the kids out West will be excited to see the world’s best surfers in their backyard.”
The women’s WCT event will start in 2013, while the men’s WCT event won’t start until 2014. The WCP licences for both events will last until 2017.