World’s best surfers on the way to PNG
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.