World’s best surfers on the way to PNG

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The World Surf League (WSL) long­board cham­pi­onship is re­turn­ing to Pa­pua New Guinea later this year. The event is pen­cilled in for late Oc­to­ber at Van­imo, in San­daun Province, in the far north of the coun­try.

PNG suc­cess­fully staged its in­au­gu­ral WSL long­board event at Tupira Surf Club, in Madang Province, in March 2017.

At the time, the win­ner of the men’s event, Tay­lor Jensen from the US, said: “This has been an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence from start to fin­ish. The peo­ple here are amaz­ing and this is some­thing I’ll never for­get.”

Big crowds are ex­pected again to watch the world’s best male and fe­male long­board­ers. The event will also be live streamed by the WSL to a po­ten­tial au­di­ence of 120 mil­lion peo­ple around the world.

The PNG round of the cham­pi­onship will carry a 50 per cent point weight­ing on the world cir­cuit, mean­ing the Van­imo event will be hotly con­tested and that PNG has a sig­nif­i­cant pro­file on the world cir­cuit.

Andy Abel, the pres­i­dent and co-founder of the Surf­ing As­so­ci­a­tion of Pa­pua New Guinea (SAPNG), says the SAPNG and the WSL are work­ing to­gether closely in the plan­ning for Van­imo.

Jus­tice Ni­cholas Kir­ri­wom, the pa­tron of the Tupira Surf Club, and Abel at­tended the re­cent WSL awards on the Gold Coast in Aus­tralia.

Abel says PNG surf­ing was “truly on show’’ at the awards, which are at­tended by the big­gest names in world surf­ing.

“PNG was men­tioned by many through­out the night,” says Abel. “They are still talk­ing about the beauty and ad­ven­ture they had in PNG (at the last event) and that it is like no where else they’d surfed be­fore.”

Best foot for­ward … France’s Vic­to­ria Ver­gara in ac­tion at last year’s WSL event in PNG.

Surf­ing’s broth­ers in arms … (from left) Ni­cholas Kir­ri­wom, world cham­pion surfer Mick Fan­ning and Andy Abel at the Gold Coast.

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