Evans above, Joel won’t forget his first Malibu Classic
THE Evans Head Malibu Classic will always hold a special place in the heart of Yamba surfer Joel Skinner.
The 2012 event was the first time Skinner had competed in a longboard competition.
Fast forward two years and he is the Australian longboard under-18 junior champion.
He won the title at the Austral-ian Surf Festival at Coffs Harbour in August.
The Evans Head Malibu Classic starts today and will the first event Skinner has competed in since winning the national title.
"I'll always go in this event because I'll never forget that it was my first competition," 16-year-old Skinner said.
"It's a great spot and there are plenty of good vibes there among the surfers.
"I've had a bit of a break (from competition) and can't wait to get out there."
Skinner will compete in two open divisions, with his father Trevor Skinner in the over-50s.
He is already sponsored by Firewire Surfboards and Shapers Fins.
The open division will be hotly contested with the likes of Joel Tilley, Scott Channon and Skinner among the favourites.
"I got a heap of confidence after first surfing at the event and I have some really good boards now," Skinner said.
"I haven't made a final in this event and it would be a great one to win."
Competition starts early this morning with finals on Monday.
About 180 surfers will compete in the 24th annual event.