Charging the swell for Jess
SURFING: Surfers from along the Eastern Seaboard will try and carve their way into Coffs Coast folklore this weekend as they leave it all in the water for the Barney Miller Classic.
With the competition starting Friday morning, the heat will be on from the get go as a stacked field jostle for places in Sunday's final.
Sawtell Boardriders Club president Gerard O'Sullivan said despite fierce competition flocking in from Newcastle and Queensland, there's plenty of local hopes in the field.
"Boston Phillips is a Sawtell local, he's only 18 and he's just started started doing QS (Qualifying Series) events; so he'll be one to watch,” O'Sullivan said.
"Josh Burrows is another young guy from Sawtell and he really rips.
"Brad Gordon from Woolgoolga will be a threat, he's also doing QS events.”
O'Sullivan is optimistic Mother Nature will turn one on for the annual event after a monster swell made for tricky conditions last year.
"Finals day on Sunday is looking great at this stage and Friday isn't looking too bad either,” he said.
"Saturday is looking a bit windy but the swell should be good and won't be as big as it was last year.”
This year marks the 20th instalment of the Barney Miller Classic, with all funds raised in 2019 being donated to 24-year-old Jessica Collins, who injured her spine in a surfing accident on the Gold Coast last year.
As a result of the incident, Collins is classified as a C4 quadriplegic and is paralysed from her chest down with limited movement in her arms. The Newcastle native is looking forward to attending the event.
"It's incredible they're doing this for me, I personally don't know Barney so this is amazing,” she said.
"This will really help with recovery and my rehab so I can begin to get my life back to normal.”
Tickets for Friday night's gala dinner, which includes a three-course meal, are $75 and can be purchased at sawtellrsl.com.au. Surfing will begin at 7am on Friday and Saturday, with the finals expected to wrap up at 2pm on Sunday.