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MAROUBRA BEACH, SYDNEY (Friday, 22 December 2017):

New South Wales is set to remain as one of the strongest legs in professional surfing with the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro, World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) event set to take place at Manly in early 2018.

With 6,000 QS points up for grabs, some of the world�s best surfers will be in attendance as they look to kick off their 2018 campaign in style when the event gets underway from 24 February � 4 March.

Member for Manly MP James Griffin is thrilled to be able to keep an iconic surfing event on Manly�s shores.

�I�m proud to welcome the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro event to Manly, it will be a fantastic event and I�m delighted that our community will continue to enjoy pro surfing,� said Griffin. �Importantly, not only will the event bring the best international surfers to Manly, but our local junior talent will have an opportunity to shine. I look forward to working with the WSL, Surfing NSW, Destination NSW and Northern Beaches Council to ensure we develop a sustainable event.�

Northern Beaches Council Mayor Michael Regan believes Manly is the perfect natural amphitheatre for the world�s best surfers and wants to see the event remain in the region for the long-term.

�For years, Manly Beach has been one of the jewels in NSW�s crown when it comes to professional surfing events,� said Regan. �We�re proud to have an event of this stature on our iconic beach and will be working closely with local residents and businesses to keep it here.�

Stepping up their already solid investment into the World Championship Tour qualification pathway is Vissla, who has come onboard as the naming rights sponsor for the event. Vissla�s VP of Global Marketing Vince de la Pena is excited to see a professional event of this stature remain on Sydney�s Northern Beaches and play a vital role in providing a platform to win crucial QS points.

�Manly has such a rich history in professional surfing, being the location of the first world surfing championships back in 1964, so it is an honour to step into this event and help carry on the tradition,� said de la Pena. �Being the second QS6,000 of the year and just prior to the start of the 2018 CT, we expect a red-hot field and we also look forward to introducing some exciting new elements to the event to showcase some of the creativity within the surfing community.�

Surfing NSW CEO Luke Madden echoed similar sentiments and stated that the newly announced Vissla Sydney Surf Pro would bolster the schedule of surfing events that take place in the state early next year.

�Over the last three years we�ve seen an exponential growth of professional and credible surfing events in the state, with the Vissla NSW Surf Series, the World Junior Championships in Kiama and Surfest all attracting a wide array of nationalities to the beautiful NSW coastline,� said Madden. �The Vissla Sydney Surf Pro is the perfect way to finish the NSW professional surfing leg with a bang and we can�t wait to see some of the world�s best when the event lands in Manly next year.�

WSL Australia/Oceania Regional Manager Will Hayden-Smith attributed the launch of the new event to the collaborative efforts between respective stakeholders as well as the local Northern Beaches community.

"WSL are very grateful to Destination NSW, Surfing NSW, Member for Manly James Griffin, Vissla and the Northern Beaches Council and community for throwing their support behind professional surfing," said Hayden-Smith. "Having back-to-back QS6,000s at Newcastle and Manly in NSW at the start of the year is extremely important for surfers from all over the world in chasing their dreams of qualifying for the WSL Championship Tour. We can't wait to get back to Manly in 2018 for what is sure to be an exciting event for surfers and surf fans globally."

In addition to the QS components of the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro, a WSL sanctioned Pro Junior event will also take place on the opening weekend of the 24 � 25 February.

All the NSW professional surfing action gets underway from early January with the World Junior Championships, followed by the Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series, The nudie Australian Boardriders Battle National Final, Surfest and the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro.

The Vissla Sydney Surf Pro will be proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW. The event will also be proudly supported by Vissla, Northern Beaches Council, WSL and Surfing NSW.