In a shock announcement, Nicky Wood (AUS) and Brendan Margieson (AUS) have both been awarded a wildcard entry into the Association Of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 4-Star, US$85,000 Breaka Burleigh Pro, which s tomorrow.
For those unfamiliar with the name Nicky Wood, at 16-years of age Wood became the youngest-ever winner of an ASP World Tour event, claiming the 1987 Rip Curl Easter Surfing Festival at Bells Beach.
Wood went on to win a total of four ASP World Tour events in his short yet prolific professional career before he drifted away from the sport.
Now, at age 40 and 23 years after his historic Bells Beach win, Nicky Wood has found his way back into the competitive surfing limelight via a randomly drawn Win a Wildcard promotional competition with event sponsor Breaka Flavoured Milk.
When it was confirmed that the competition winner Nicolas Wood was in fact the legendary surfer Nicky Wood - who garnered so much publicity in the 1980s and 1990s, to say organisers were amazed would be an understatement.
Adding to the intrigue surrounding Wood's entry into the inaugural Breaka Burleigh Pro is the fact that Wood is the Godson of surfing royalty - ASP World Champion Mark Richards, who was synonymous with the iconic Stubbies contest held at the event's location of Burleigh Heads in the 70s and 80s.
In another coincidence, pending results there is a possibility of a Round 4 blockbuster showdown between Wood and old rival and 1999 ASP World Champion Mark Occhilupo a matchup that if it eventuates will undoubtedly have the eyes on the surfing community the world over watching.
Also lining up in the Breaka Burleigh Pro is renowned free surfer Brendan Margieson who has been awarded the events official wildcard from contest organisers (a separate type of entry to Woods).
No stranger to competition, Margo as hes known, famously won the Indonesian Nias Pro in 1996, however is better known for helping pioneer the free-surfing movement of the 1990s.
For over a decade, Margieson built his career almost exclusively around sponsor-paid promotional trips to exotic surfing ports of call around the world.
Free-surfers as they're known have been part of the sport since the 1980s however the avenue exploded thanks to the likes of Margieson who defined the role - being superhuman in the water and a great ambassador for the sport.
Despite being out of the competition scene for some time, Margieson will certainly be no easy-beat and although as an event-wildcard hes drawn top-seed and reigning two-time World Champion Mick Fanning (in the round of 64)- if Burleigh Heads delivers the goods, it could well and truly be Margos day.
Contest Director Scott Gillies said that the decision to grant Margieson the event wildcard was an excellent choice.
Margo is a well-known identity in the surfing community particularly in the Northern NSW / Gold Coast region and his ability in the water speaks for itself, said Gillies.
For a lot of surfers competing on the ASP World Tour and WQS, Margo was their hero growing up and with a wave fore that suggests there could be some swell for the event, it could play perfectly into Margos hands, he said.
Coastalwatch.com chief foreer Ben Macartney said There is a decent SE swell and SE winds predicted for throughout the event's duration, which is optimal conditions for Burleigh Heads.
Furthermore, since the announcement that three-time World Champion Andy Irons (Hawaii) will join fellow World Champions Mick Fanning and Mark Occhilupo in the field for this weeks Breaka Burleigh Pro, it has been confirmed that a fourth World Champion Sunny Garcia (Hawaii) will also be competing.
The February (17-21) Breaka Burleigh Surf Pro will be the first standalone professional surfing event to be staged at the iconic point-break of Burleigh Heads in almost 10 years.
Stay tuned to events website www.breakaburleighsurfpro.com.au for news, photos and updates relating to the Breaka Burleigh Surf Pro.
The Breaka Burleigh Surf Pro will commence on February 17 and conclude on February 21, 2010.
The event will be live web ning on the opening day. Connect to the live web at the mini-site via www.aspworldtour.com