Surfing fills coffers
By GEOFF ROUNDS
ALMOST $7 million will have been poured into the Tweed and Southern Gold Coast economies after the massive swell of success at this year's Quiksilver and Roxy Pro surfing events, which organisers are already promising will be "bigger and better" next year.
The two world-class sporting events, with US$400,000 in prize- money on offer, mark the start of the world professional surfing calendar.
Last weekend more than 35,000 spectators flocked to Snapper Rocks to watch the competition and enjoy the Quiksilver Pro Show music concert at Duranbah Beach.
This year's booming attendance figures are a significant boon to the local economy, smashing the previous record spend by visitors to the event of $5 million.
Surfing Queensland's Chief Executive Officer Andrew Stark was overwhelmed about the event's burgeoning success and was enthusiastic about its long-term viability.
"It's again been outstanding, overwhelming in fact," Mr Stark said during yesterday's Roxy Pro final, which was won by the Tweed's own Chelsea Hedges who defeated Hawaiian teenager,Carissa Moore.
"This is without doubt the best year we've ever had.
"Everything has been great again for us ... the weather, the attendance. It's all good as far as we're concerned.
"It's an event that just continues to gain in popularity and gains mo-mentum every year."
Mr Stark estimated $250,000 has been spent on accommodation alone this year.
Southern Gold Coast Chamber of Commerce president Barry McNa-mara backed up Mr Stark's com-ments, saying the professional surfing events were great for this region.
"There's quite a significant amount spent and left in the area," Mr McNamara said. "It's a great promotion for the southern Gold Coast region that's for sure.
"It is a world-class event and it helps lift the profile of this area of the coast even more."
Evidence of this was recognised during the past fortnight with a big jump in tourist numbers from Brazil.
The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro events this year had added bonuses for spectators with Hollywood actors and sporting superstars enjoying the local hospitality and the first staging of the Pro Show rock concert near Jack Evans Boat Harbour on Saturday night.
"Next year the Pro Show is going to be huge," Mr Stark said.