Big name surfers set for battle with Byron Bay
BIG name surfers Soli Bailey, Kieren Perrow and Danny Wills will compete for Byron Bay in the Australian Boardriders Battle at Newcastle this weekend.
Bailey, 24, spent 2019 on the World Championship Tour while Wills was once ranked as high as third in the world.
Perrow is a former Pipeline Masters champion and spent plenty of years as commissioner on the professional tour after a decorated career as a competitor.
Byron gained entry in the national final as a wildcard entry after missing the finals of the qualifying round at Coffs Harbour in October.
"We're very strong at the top and I think we'll be able to hold our own," Byron Bay Boardriders club president Neil Cameron said.
"You need the big names, it's no good for the organisers if clubs hold guys back.
"These guys are seasoned competitors and they're battle-hardened.
"It's a tough competition, though. A team can look good on paper but go straight out the back door."
Now in its seventh season, the Australian Boardriders Battle is the country's biggest grassroots boardriders event, involving more than 60 of Australia's best boardrider clubs and $110,000 in prize money.
The series is officially sanctioned by the World Surf League (WSL), which allows professional surfers the opportunity to represent their club at the state qualifying events and national final.
Byron Bay has also included promising juniors Touma Cameron and Duke Wrencher in its team.
"We've been bringing these guys up for a while now and they're the best groms we've had over the last few years," Cameron said.
"Our aim is to keep building our juniors and bring a few more girls in."
Meanwhile, Lennox-Ballina Boardriders heads to Newcastle after a convincing win in the qualifying round.
Former professionals Stu Kennedy and Adam Melling are in the team along with James Woods.
Le-Ba will also send Jai Glinderman, Mikey McDonagh and Nyxie Ryan.
Former Lennox Head surfers Mikey and Tyler Wright were part of the winning Culburra team in 2018.
In the past six years, Surfing Australia has invested more than $750,000 into affiliated boardriders clubs.