After a gruelling year battling it out around the world, the World Surf League (WSL) Women’s Qualifying Series (QS) will culminate at Birubi Beach at the 2017 Port Stephens Toyota NSW Pro. With 6000 points up for grabs, some of the world’s best female surfers will be on hand trying to consolidate themselves a spot on the 2018 elite Championship Tour (CT).
Novocastrian, Philippa Anderson has been competing on the QS for a number of years now, with the dream of elevating herself to the CT. In 2016, this dream almost became reality, with Anderson only narrowly missing the qualification cut off. The stylish natural footer’s best result of 2016, came at the final QS6,000 of the year. In 2017, Anderson approaches the final event in a similar position and is hoping to go one better and take the win on home soil to achieve her lifelong goal of competing on the ‘Dream Tour.’
“This is the last QS6,000 event of the year so it is super important,” Anderson said. “There are only six events of this size in the season so a solid result at a couple of them is essential. There are a handful of girls all needing a big result here, so it is sure to be exciting. Having the final event of the year in Australia is great, but the fact that it is so close to my home is amazing. I surf at Birubi a bit and it can get really good. It’s a great setup for a contest and it will be awesome to see the world’s best out there. I’m really glad this event has come together and can’t wait for it to get underway.”
After successfully running the final Women’s QS6,000 event of the 2016 season at Cronulla, it was an obvious decision to keep the event based in New South Wales. Collaborating with WSL, Destination NSW and Port Stephens Council was Luke Madden and the Surfing NSW team who knew the Birubi Beach at Port Stephens would be the ideal location to decide the qualifiers for the 2018 CT.
“The Toyota Port Stephens NSW Pro has been a successful collaborative effort between Surfing NSW, WSL, Destination NSW and Port Stephens Council and we couldn’t be more proud to see it kick off its maiden year in 2017. To have the world’s best female surfers in Port Stephens as they attempt to cement their position on the 2018 World Championship Tour is the perfect way to finish the Qualifying Series year and we couldn’t be more excited for it to all kick off.” 
Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Scot MacDonald MLC said the Port Stephens NSW Pro is a major international event that will see competitors from all over the world travel to the region.
“Port Stephens is one of the most famed surf spots in Australia and I am looking forward to welcoming some of the world’s best surfers to our stunning region in just a few weeks,” Mr MacDonald said. “The Port Stephens NSW Pro women’s field alone has 114 competitors and as the last major point-scoring opportunity of the year will play a major role in determining who qualifies for the 2018 World Surf League (WSL) Women’s Championship Tour.”
NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said with so many international surfers visiting the region, the event will provide a significant boost for local businesses, hotels, restaurants and tourism operators.
“The Port Stephens NSW Pro will be huge, with more than 1,000 surfers and visitors expected to travel to the region, injecting around $910,000 into the local visitor economy over the next two years,” Mr Marshall said. “This event is a key component of a packed events calendar for the Hunter region, which this year has included the WSL sanctioned Australian Boardriders Battle, Matildas vs Brazil international football friendly and the upcoming Newcastle 500 just to name a few.”
WSL Australia / Oceania Regional Manager Will Hayden-Smith is excited to see what the new location has to offer for the most important event of the women’s QS season.
"This is the most important women's QS of the season as it decides who will be on the 2018 Championship Tour. WSL would like to pass on a huge thank you to our event partners Destination NSW, Port Stephens Toyota, Port Stephens Council and Surfing NSW for helping us pull this together. We look forward to showing the world what Port Stephens has to offer."
Janelle Gardner, Tourism Development and Event Coordinator for Port Stephens Council is thrilled that the surfing worlds eyes will be on the beautiful Birubi Beach and its surroundings.
"Port Stephens Council is very excited to be hosting this prestigious event.  The Port Stephens NSW Pro provides a fantastic opportunity to promote Port Stephens, our beautiful beaches, National Parks and the amazing Worimi Conservation Lands to surfers and surfing fans from around the world. Port Stephens Council looks forward to working with the WSL and Surfing NSW to ensure the 2017 Port Stephens Pro is a great success and continues in Port Stephens for many years to come.”
The 2017 Port Stephens Toyota NSW Pro will run from November 2 – 5. For more information on the event and to watch it live, head to www.worldsurfleague.com or check out the WSL App.