MARGARET RIVER, Western Australia (Monday, November 12, 2012) - In a major sporting coup for Western Australia, Premier Colin Barnett has announced that the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro has been granted World Championship Tour (WCT) status by the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP).
"This is a fantastic outcome for WA and in particular the Margaret River region, as it will drive visitation and provide priceless international exposure," Mr Barnett said.
"ASP WCT status guarantees that the top 34 ranked male and top 17 ranked female surfers in the world will compete at Margaret River, with the competition expanding to 12 days from the current seven. National and international media coverage is also expected to at least double to an estimated media equivalency value of $50 million.
The State Government supported Surfing WA's bid for ASP WCT status through its events arm Eventscorp and with additional funding from Royalties for Regions' Regional Events Program.
Tourism Minister, Dr Kim Hames said ASP WCT status confirmed the reputation of Margaret River's Surfers Point as a world class surfing destination.
"Even as a Prime rated event, the sport's second tier tour, the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro has been an outstanding success, especially in recent years. But WCT status will elevate Margaret River to the elite level alongside iconic surf locations like Hawaii's Banzai Pipeline and Teahupoo in Tahiti," Dr Hames said.
ASP WCT status for the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro will kick in next year for the women's event and in 2014 for the men's. Both ASP WCT licences extend until 2017.
"ASP is very pleased to announce the sanctioning of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro as a WCT event in the coming years," Renato Hickel, ASP WCT Manager, said. "Margaret River is a long-standing event on the ASP World Tour and a favourite stop for many of the world's top men's and women's surfers already. We are pleased to add such a quality event and location to our elite World Championship Tour."
Yallingup local and perennial ASP World Title contender, Taj Burrow, will lead the world's best surfers to his home region, beginning in 2014.
"This is an exciting time for Margaret River," Burrow said. "The waves in the region are world class and to bring the ASP WCT-level surfers here is going to be big for the region. I get jealous of Mick (Fanning) and Joel (Parkinson) every year for having an event at their home and the advantage of getting to sleep in their beds and surf their local spots. I'm sure all the kids out West will be excited to see the world's best surfers in their backyard."
The ASP Women's World Championship Tour, led five five-time ASP World Champion, Stephanie Gilmore, will commence sanctioning of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro this coming season in 2013.
Minister for Regional Development Brendon Grylls said the elevation of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro to WCT status would facilitate a multitude of regional development outcomes, in fitting with the goal of Royalties for Regions.
"Events make a valuable contribution towards building strong sustainable regional communities that are desirable places to live because they improve the social amenity, add excitement, attract visitation and bolster local economies," Mr Grylls said.
"The WCT upgrade also links perfectly with the $4million upgrade of facilities at Surfers Point funded by Royalties for Regions' Supertowns initiative."
ASP International will release a full 2013 schedule this week.
For more information, log onto to www.ASPWorldTour.com