Lining up the heavyweights – Fanning, Gilmore, Wright, Moore and Fitzgibbons
Following an impressive line-up of Australian and international surfers, three-time World Surfing
Champion and Aussie legend Mick Fanning has confirmed to compete at the 2015 Hurley Australian Open of Surfing from 7-15 February at Manly Beach. With 19 career World Championship Tour (WCT) wins under his belt, Fanning finished 2nd in the 2014 WSL Men's World Title race.
Also confirmed is six time Women's World Champion and current No.1 WCT surfer in the world, Steph Gilmore. Gilmore's addition into the Open Women's Division means the much-loved, nine-day event, which is free and open to the public, will see the top five female surfers in the world go head to head right on Sydney's shores.
Owned and operated by IMG, with the support of Hurley and Destination NSW, the NSW Government's tourism and major events agency, the 2015 Hurley Australian Open of Surfing is shaping up to be a highlight on the summer calendar.
Tyler Wright (2015 WCT 2), 2014 Hurley Australian Open of Surfing champion Carissa Moore (2015 WCT Rank 3), local Sally Fitzgibbons (2015 WCT Rank 4) and Malia Manuel (2015 WCT Rank 5) have also been announced to battle it out in the Manly waves next month.
The Hurley Australian Open of Surfing will be the first time that local legends; Gilmore, Wright and Fitzgibbons will compete against each other since their incredibly close 2014 Women's World Championship Tour title race.
Joining the all star crew is Sydney local Laura Enever (2015 WCT Rank 10) and Victorian Nikki van Dijk (2015 WCT Rank 15). Coco Ho (2015 WCT Rank 13) and Tatiana Weston – Webb (2015 WCT Rank 16) will join Moore to represent their hometown of Hawaii, USA.
Winning both the Open and Junior Men's Divisions at the 2012 Australian Open of Surfing, Matt Banting (2015 WCT Rank 23) will be returning to the Manly shores. Ranked No. 2 on the 2014 QS standings, 2015 will mark Banting's rookie year on the Men's World Championship Tour. Other QS6000 competitors include California's Kolohe Andino (2015 WCT Rank 11), Aussies Ace Buchan
(2015 WCT Rank 15) and Kai Otton (2015 WCT Rank 18), along with Queenslander Bede Durbidge
(2015 WCT Rank 16). On the international front, Brazilian Miguel Pupo (2015 WCT Rank 19),
Hawaiians Sebastian Zietz (2015 WCT Rank 20), Fred Patacchia Jr. (2015 WCT Rank 21) and Keanu Asing (2015 WCT Rank 28), as well as Frenchman Jeremy Flores (2015 WCT Rank 30) will also hit Sydney's Northern Beaches for the nine-day festival.
See full list of competing athletes at http://www.australianopenofsurfing.com/2015/athletes