The inaugural Sydney International Beach Festival kicked off this Thursday at Cronulla Beach with a Pro surfing event in which 96 women competed to secure a spot on the world tour.
The festival, created by pro surfer Sally Fitzgibbons to give something back to the surfing community, includes a fun run, competitive swimming and board riding events, and an Ironwoman invitational event.
Day one saw the completion of all 12 heats of the surf comp, finishing off round one with the likes of Japanese Ren Hashimoto, South African Sarah Baum, and Australian Felicity Palmateer advancing to the next round after a solid performance.
“I have spent quite a bit of time here so feel pretty confident,” Hashimoto said. “I just had to wait for the good ones which allowed me to surf the way I wanted to. I’m so excited to make it to the seeded round and really hope I can surf against a CT surfer – that would be amazing.”
The event is still yet to unveil some of its bigger headline performers which include Sally Fitzgibbons, Stephanie Gilmore, Tyler Wright, Laura Enever and Nikki Van Dijk. With exciting young Australian talent to look forward to such as Junior World champ Isabella Nichols and wild card 11-year-old Sabre Norris.
Norris is the youngest surfer to compete in a pro event for a wild-card spot and will face off against world number nine Sage Erickson in her first heat. – James Wardell
Photo of a women’s surfer from the International beach festival Twitter feed.