August 29, 2023

Locals to surf it out

The region’s top longboarders will take on a selection of the world’s best to clinch a wildcard into the prestigious 2023 Bioglan Bells Beach Longboard Classic tomorrow.

A total of 18 men and 18 women will surf it out at Torquay Point to claim the single spot into the inaugural World Longboard Tour (WLT) event at Bells Beach.

The main event will kick off on Wednesday at Djarrak/Bells Beach.

Local surfers in the running to secure the wildcard on the men’s side include Will Cousins (Torquay), Matthew Shay (Torquay), John Stephen (Aireys Inlet) and Nathan Rivalland (Jan Juc).

The women’s draw will feature 2023 Victorian Open Women’s Logger champion Bea Conroy (Point Lonsdale), Over 40 Women’s Longboard champion Emma Webb (Anglesea), Rita Lahtinen (Torquay) and former WLT competitor Angela King (Torquay).

2021 Victorian Open Men’s Logger champion Will Cousins said he was eagerly looking forward to throwing on the jersey with a WSL wildcard spot on the line.

“I’m feeling really good about it and at the moment I’m just trying to surf as much as possible.

“I’ve always loved competing so it’s pretty cool to get an invite to an event like this."

“It would mean a lot to get the wildcard, I would never have dreamed to be able to compete in a WSL event, so the opportunity to do so is amazing.”

Angela King also expressed her excitement for the “wonderful opportunity.”

“I’m feeling really excited for the event, particularly for our locals and aspiring LQS surfers."

“It’s great to be back into the competitions, I had a bit of a break to focus on my family & help my kids with their own surfing goals.

“I love competing because it keeps me accountable with my surf fitness and my kids are still pretty impressed when I make a final or have a win.

“It would be so exciting if I made the main event, just being able to surf Bells with one other person out would be so cool, a dream even.

“It’s so wonderful that the WSL has considered bringing a main longboard event back to a break that has historically held groundbreaking longboard events in the past, with many legendary surfers leading the way in those events.”

More Bells Beach Longboard Classic event information here.

Read full Surf Coast Times story here.

Photo credit: Will Cousins will be back in the jersey at the WSL trials event. Photo: KATEY SHEARER

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