by Shane Saroya – EM TV Sport, Port Moresby
It’s been 28 years in the making, but now the Surfing Association of PNG (SAPNG) is on the verge of hosting one of the biggest events on the surfing calendar, in conjunction with the World Surf League.
Tupira in the Madang province has been chosen among other potential surfing spots in PNG such as Vanimo, Manus, Kavieng and Bougainville to stage the event.
World Surf League representative Steve Robertson was in the country to scout potential surfing spots, with the aim to host an international surfing event here next year.
Madang has been selected as the ideal location to stage the tournament because of surf consistency throughout the year, the security on the ground and the logistics and other necessities that an international tournament would require.
Robertson also highlighted that the international surfing tournament will bring with it a lot of spin-off benefits to the local community and the country as a whole.
SAPNG has over 144 registered members in the country and will be expecting to see more join its ranks when the competition gets underway.
In 2007, SAPNG successfully hosted a National Championship in Vanimo, Sandaun Province and Tupira in Madang province in 2011.
SAPNG President, Andy Abel, said the aim of the organisation is to promote the popularity of the code, not only as a tourist sport but also to promote our local culture and traditions.
Abel is hopeful to see the native wood surfboards that are crafted locally, by local surfboard makers, to be used by the local surfers against the professional.
According to Steve Robertson, it may also be possible to see a women’s professional event also staged in the region.
This could attract professional surfers like current women’s champion Stephanie Gilmore and many others who are huge athletes on the world stage.
If SAPNG is successful in hosing this tournament it will draw the attention of the members of the World Surf League body and surfers around the world and could be a window of opportunity to see an influx of world class surfers and tournaments to be staged here in PNG.