Some of Western Australia's best and most experienced surfers are preparing to hit the waters off Margaret River this weekend, with first event of the Health Insurance Fund of Australia (HIF) WA Pro Am Series presented by SunSmart set for an exciting start.

The event has attracted a mix of new school talent and old school skill, with competitors ranging from 15 through to 63 years of age converging from right across the state to tackle the famed waves of Margaret River.

The HIF Pro Am Series will provide a pathway for WA surfers to compete at the World Surf League (WSL) Margaret River Pro in April, with the blue-ribbon Open Men’s winner awarded a position into the Drug Aware Trials event.

“This is a really important opportunity for the local surf community,” said Surfing WA Events Manager Justin Majeks. “This weekend's Pro Am Series essentially acts like a ‘trials for the trials’, with the Open Men's winner set to join an elite field of West Australian surfers who will compete for one position into the main event of the Margaret River Pro to take on the world's best on home soil.”

The Open Men’s division is stacked with surfers vying for the coveted trials spot. Top contenders include reigning Open Men's State Champion Jerome Forrest (Margaret River), Under-18 State Champion Jack Haslau (Margaret River), surfboard shaper Zak Ogram (Yallingup) and former World Tour competitor Jake Paterson (Yallingup) to name just a few.

“It looks like there will be some fun waves on offer over the next few days and I'm really striving towards defending my Open Men's Title in 2018,” said Jerome Forrest. “It's great to see so many quality surfers have entered this weekend, it should be a really fun couple of days.”
Felicity Palmateer is another former World Tour competitor who will be lining up in Margaret River this weekend. Now residing on the Gold Coast, Palmateer will compete in the very events which helped launch her international career.

“It's always a delight to come back to my roots here in the West,” said Palmateer. “I'm looking forward to catching up with old friends and feeling the raw power of the Indian Ocean under my feet again.”

The event has also attracted a host of WA's surfing stalwarts who will compete in an array of masters divisions. Paul Paterson (City Beach), Adrian Shepherd (Albany), Tommy Triggwell (Dunsborough) and Brad Cowan (Margaret River) will all lineup in some eagerly anticipated match-ups.

HIF's continued support of surfing in WA confirms the their commitment to promoting a healthy lifestyle amongst the surfing community. 

“HIF has a keen interest in supporting better health and wellbeing outcomes for Australians and surfing is a great way to keep fit mentally and physically," said HIF Executive Manger, Anne Humphrey. "Our partnership with Surfing WA demonstrates our shared interest in keeping our community safe, happy and healthy,” 

The weekend surf forecast is looking positive, with a medium sized swell set to pulse towards the South-West coast. Gas Bay will be the prime event location and is high performance wave and a great competition venue.

Competition will commence from 7:40am on Saturday with finals set to take place on Sunday.

Surfing WA will be streaming live heat scores and results for people to follow via their new live event site: www.surfingwalive.asn.au
Surfing WA reminds all our travelling competitors and families of the dangers of sending a text message or using a mobile phone while behind the wheel. The #NoTxtNoWrecks message is supported by our road safety partner RAC.
Stay tuned to www.surfingwa.com.au for news, photos and updates relating to the 2018 HIF Pro Am Series
HIF is a not-for-profit, all-about-choice health fund, providing a better choice of more affordable health insurance options and the freedom to choose the health care providers you want. See HIF’s range of great-value Extras and Hospital cover options at hif.com.au and use the handy online product selector to choose the ideal cover for your budget and lifestyle.