Philippa Anderson laughed that it would be "pretty cool to hold myself above my head" on Sunday afternoon at Merewether after the Surfest women's final.
The 2009 winner was an integral part of the newest Surfest tradition on Monday when a perpetual women's trophy was unveiled. Newcastle sculptor Julie Squires, who 20 years ago was asked to design the Mark Richards Trophy for the Surfest men's winner, created the new prize with input from Anderson.
Surfest organiser Warren Smith asked the pair to collaborate a year ago and Squires used action images of Anderson and insights from their meetings to create the Surfest Women's Trophy.
"Just to work with Julie, someone of her calibre, it was an amazing opportunity," Anderson said. "And to be asked, a lot of the top girls attend Surfest, so it's pretty cool for him to ask me."
Richards, Merewether's four-time world champion, said the trophy was a fitting addition.
"It's really nice that there is now a perpetual trophy for the women's event, and to have Julie do the design in the likeness of a shot of Philippa surfing is really nice, because she's so recognisable in Newcastle and she's a proud Novocastrian, a great surfer, person and competitor," Richards said.
Anderson won Surfest as a 17-year-old and has promoted the event since as it has battled sponsorship challenges. She was a semi-finalist last year to kick-start her season but she later fell agonisingly short of qualifying for the top tour again.
"It would be pretty cool to hold myself above my head," she laughed when asked if the trophy would give her added motivation this week. "But I just want a good result here. Quarter-finals or better and that just sets you up for the year. That's the end goal, to qualify, but you've also just got to take it heat by heat."
Squires said the letters S and W were part of the metal wave sculptor to identify it as the Surfest Women's prize.
Smith was thrilled with the finished product.
"From Surfest's point of view, we're very proud to have the two athletes, and what their contributions have been to surfing, especially MR, and Philippa is now growing all the time, but also to have Julie make these and be able to present them to the world now," he said.