Sport

Malibu madness at Evans Head Classic

Dean Bevan of Kingscliff has qualified for next year's WSL professional longboard tour. He's among the favourites in for the annual Evans Head Malibu Classic.
Dean Bevan of Kingscliff has qualified for next year's WSL professional longboard tour. He's among the favourites in for the annual Evans Head Malibu Classic. Ethan Smith/Surfing NSW

AUSTRALIAN champions Dean Bevan and Dan Croskery will be among the favourites in the open nine-foot division at the annual Evans Head Malibu Classic.

Former Australian champion Dane Pioli won the event last year while Lennox Head surfer Scott Channon comes in having won the Byron Bay and Lennox Longboard Classic this year.

"Dane won't be here this year but we'll have a current Australian champion in Dan while Dean will represent Australia a bit later in the year,” event organiser Ross Cribb said.

"Scott seems to be winning everything at the moment and he'll be hard to beat.

"Samarra Cribb and Yasmin Lawrence are locals in the open women's and Sarra Robertson and Emma Perrier from Brisbane will be ones to watch.”

About 130 surfers will compete when the four-day competition starts at Evans Head main beach on Friday.

The event is now in its 27th year and remains a popular one on the Australian longboard calendar.

"Entries are always full and once you get here you can park your car at the caravan park and not have to drive again until you leave,” Cribb said.

"Everyone gets at least two surfs and you can walk to the beach and back to the bowling club for all the functions.”

It will be littered with other current and former Australian champions when competition ramps up over the weekend.

New South Wales Under-18 champion Jye Whyatt will headline a packed junior boys division.

He can expect plenty of competition from Geordie Forysth, Josh Morgan and San Ticknor.

Safety will be a top priority again after shark attacks on the Far North Coast last year before the event.

"We'll still have all the shark control measures in place,” Cribb said. "There will be spotters on the wall and we'll have drones and the coast guard sitting in a boat just behind the break.

"The surf patrol will be operating and we have a new shark alarm siren.”

The event is the biggest fundraiser for the club and raises thousands of dollars for local charities.

Surfing starts at 7am on Friday, with the final on Monday and presentation to follow at the bowling club.