Massive Field Forces Maitland Toyota Surfest Organizers to Expand Contest

Organisers of the Maitland Toyota Surfest have received a massive number of entries, forcing the big drawcard contests for men and women to run for 8 days for the first time in the 22-year history of the World Qualifying Series event.

Action in those drawcard contests will now commence a day early and get underway at 11am on Sunday March 11th at Merewether beach in News South Wales, Australia. The first heats of the men's 4-star Maitland Toyota Open will commence with a round of 240. There is a reserve list of 32 competitors, including Merewether locals Travis Lynch and Rhys Smith. Three-time winner Mick Fanning is the number one seed for the contest.

Also on March 11th, the women's 5-star Midori Pro will commence with a round of 72 competitors, including 13 of the the Top 17 women in the world. That impressive line-up includes another three-time winner at Newcastle, Rebecca Woods from Copacabana on the Central Coast.

Additionally, the male and female pro-junior ranks that get underway during the week leading up to the main events have attracted 200 competitors. "The timing of the event this year on the Australasian pro-surfing tour has worked perfectly for Newy and that's partly why the men's numbers are huge," said contest organiser Warren Smith.

"We are having to get a computer operations specialist come up from Melbourne just so we can run a double bank on the Friday and Saturday to progress the 200-field boys' and girls' Pro-Junior to allow us to complete that competition by 11am on Sunday March 11th," said Smith. "The big boost in the women's field is totally due to Midori increasing the prize money so the region will see the vast majority of the hottest female surfers on the planet. "There's never been a better total field of women's surfing talent assembled in Newcastle," he added.

Other events that will boost total numbers of competitors to more than 800 during the entire event - which gets underway on March 7 - include the Sanbah Cadet Cup, the Newcastle Permanent Junior Teams, the Newcastle City Council High Schools Challenge, The Employment Plus Indigenous Pro, The Coca-Cola Open and the Triple O Challenge.

www.aspworldtour.com

www.surfingaustralia.com