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Australian Open of Surfing kicks off February 11 at Manly Beach in Sydney

by Killeen Gonzalez [February 10, 2012]

Australian Open of Surfing kicks off February 11 at Manly Beach in SydneyPro surfing fans have much to look forward to this weekend as the Australian Open gets ready to make its debut on the shores of Sydney. The event is scheduled to take place February 11th through the 19th, 2012 at the revered Manly Beach. The significance of the event's inauguration is not lost on surfing fans. It's where the World Surfing Championships began. Here's a closer look:

About the Australian Open of Surfing

Casual observers may want to give total credit to Huntington Beach, California, for today's surfing competitions but they'd be wrong. The cradle of the World Surfing Championships is actually Manly Beach in Sydney, Australia. The iconic competition started there in 1964. Since that time it has steadily moved to other locations across the globe attracting reverent followers. Hence this weekend's event is more a homecoming to the dedicated than a launch of something new. It also marks the start of the 2012 Association of Surfing Professionals' (ASP) season and is expected to draw surfing's elite to Sydney's shores in droves. The surfing competition will run in conjunction with a festival like atmosphere and include events in pro skateboarding. A full schedule of activities may be found online.

About the Surfers

For some surfing fans the homecoming will be a bit bittersweet due to the last minute withdrawal of Aussie surfer Owen Wright. Considered the third best male surfer in the world, Wright succumbed to the ill effects of dehydration earlier this week and had to pull out of the competition in order to recover properly. There are still a plethora of male powerhouses that will be on hand to battle it out for the $25,000 prize purse. The ladies will be vying for a $15,000 prize. Personally, I am looking forward to seeing Joel "Parko" Parkinson compete. The 30 year old Aussie is a true force to be reckoned with. His top turns are undoubtedly among the best on the surfing circuit. It will be the first time since his stint in the juniors that he's competed in an ASP World Tour event at Manly Beach. With that said, I suspect that he'll be even more focused on doing his best. Another one to watch is 20 year old Aussie Laura Enever. She has the advantages of youth and experience on her side. Enever lives near Manly Beach and has the potential to cull her intimate knowledge of the area and turn it into a win.

Start Date: February 11, 2012
End Date: February 19, 2012