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Think Local

International  surfing champion

Carissa Moore

Carissa will be back this year to try and reclaim her title after winning the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing (AOS) women’s event last year.

"Sure a win would be awesome, but I just want to surf my best and enjoy the competition. I’m not putting pressure on myself,” she tells Peninsula Living.

The surfing star, who hails from Hawaii, cannot speak more highly of the event.

"The AOS is a week full of fun - I really like that it’s a celebration of not only sport, but music and art," she says.

"Plus, I love the crowd at Manly. Northern Beaches locals are huge supporters of surfing. Last year it was pouring with rain on the final day but the beach was still packed with fans.

"The event is like no other pro comp. I was out in the surf practicing last year in the evening, and I could hear the bands playing on the beach. It was such a rad experience — I got to enjoy surfing and a concert at the same time! Plus, what other contest has a massive concert setup and skate ramp on the beach?” the world number three smiles.

The organiser

Simon Corkill

"More than 183,000 people are expected to attend the AOS this year, along with 500 competitors, so it’ll be even bigger than last year,” says Mr Corkill.

The organiser says one of the biggest changes for 2015 is that a lot more World Surf League stars will be competing, with the world’s top ranked female surfers - Carissa Moore, Sally Fitzgibbons and Tyler Wright - participating, just to name a few.

"It is an unbelievable event with an amazing vibe, and we hope the event will run again next year,” Mr Corkill says.

The skate prodigy

Keegan Palmer

This will be the 10-year-old skater’s third time competing in the AOS, after coming first in the amateur contest in 2012, and 13th in the pro event last year.

"It’s a fun contest as I get to skate with all of my idols. But I do get a little nervous," says Keegan, who names Pedro Barros as his favourite skater.

"I also loved skating the bowl last year because of the obstacles that were put into it. The diving board was great.”

The Burleigh Heads local, who has travelled internationally to compete in skate events, says he skates at his local park at Elanora daily, and also tries to surf as much as he can.

"I like skating and surfing at Manly because it’s a lot like Burleigh Heads, plus everyone’s really supportive and nice on the Northern Beaches,” he says.

The peninsula pro surfer

Davey Cathels

Twenty-three-year-old Davey Cathels did n’t realise just how big the event was going to be when he first competed in the AOS.

"I knew there was going to be a skate bowl and a big pavilion for the surfers, and a stage set up for the band. But there were so many people out and about enjoying themselves says the Narra been local.

"Peninsula locals get to watch the best international surfers right on their doorstep — it’s great.”

This year, Davey, who is currently placed 30th in the World Surfing League rankings, says he’s looking forward to getting off to a good start in 2015.

"My favourite beach to surf is Narrabeen, but Manly comes a close second. There’s always a great crowd that comes down to support all the local surfers, so I hope I do them and myself proud,” he says.

The event’s biggest fan

Mike Baird

For the self-descri bed "very average surfer”, while it is about the surfing, the skating and the music, the NSW premier believes what is so special about the AOS is "the spirit and sense of community that’s come each year from the event”.

"It’s great to see local mums and dads bringing young kids down to Manly to watch their idols skate and surf,” Mr Baird tells Peninsula Living.

"The event has such an energy and buzz to it.   

"The AOS is a reminder to us Northern Beaches locals that we are lucky to live where we live and to have such a fantastic event on our doorstep.”

This year, the NSW premier is looking forward to taking time out from his busy schedule and watching the pro surfers.

”I get to see them do things on the waves that I could only ever dream of trying," Mr Baird smiles.

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