MORGAN Cibilic will be wary of fellow qualifying series winners and locals alike when he fights for a first Mattara Surf Classic title at South Bar Beach on Saturday.
Cibilic is in top form after his maiden QS victory at the Mandurah Pro and semi-final finish at the Cape Naturaliste Pro. The Merewether teenager will be among the favourites at the 57th Mattara, where defending champion Nic Squiers and 2011 winner Shane Holmes, who have both claimed QS titles this year, will also feature.
However, Cibilic expected tough opposition from many others in the maximum 24-man field for the $4000 winner-take-all event.
“There’s very high-quality surfers in it,” Cibilic said.
“Even the local guys from places like Catho and Frenchies, guys like James McMorland, they are all top surfers. Then there’s guys coming from the Central Coast like Ryan Slattery and Shane Holmes. The calibre of surfers is incredible.”
This year the winner’s name will be added to a new timber surfboard honour roll, which features former world champions Mark Richards, Peter Townend and Damien Hardman.
For the first time, Mattara will carry equal prizemoney for women. Defending champion Philippa Anderson is the clear favourite in the maximum 12-woman field. Anderson’s Merewether clubmates Maddi Poole and Amelie Bourke are also in the contest. Nelson Bay’s Elle Clayton-Brown and Sydney’s Bohdi Leigh-Jones will be leading contenders.
Finals are scheduled to start at 3.30pm.
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