The Maitland and Port Stephens Toyota Pro kicks off in Newcastle this week. Being one of Australia’s most prestigious surf contests, we thought we’d get Merewether local and this year’s wildcard Jesse Adam to talk us through the ins and outs of the QS6000 event and give us the rundown on what it means to the Novocastrian surf community. The powerful natural-footer who grew up trading waves with Craig Anderson (and once took down Julian in a pro junior final) earned his spot in the round of 96 by first winning the Merewether Boardriders Opens title and then surfing his way through a Surfing NSW trials event. Having commentated the Quiky Pro back in the days of the ASP, the twenty-seven year old is no stranger to talking surfing and was only too happy to wax lyrical on his favourite week at home. He takes it from here:

Steel City Surf Culture

In terms of surfing in Newcastle, it’s huge. This event is the biggest thing that happens here and that’s saying something because Newcastle isn't small by any means. The Hunter region is pretty massive and they come from far and wide to see Surfest. I guess MR is a total Australian surfing icon and to have his name attached to the event really helps its cause.

Local Linage

There’s such a huge depth of talent and history here so there is a lot of pride in the Newcastle surfing community, particularly in Merewether. We’ve produced a lot of world class surfers—MR, Nick Wood, Luke Egan, Matt Hoy, and more recently, guys like Craig Anderson, Ryan Callinan, Jackson Baker. It’s hard to not be proud of Merewether and its surfing history.

Event History

If you look at the past winners list it’s out of hand, there’s world champions everywhere—Curren, Occy, Barton Lynch, Tommy Carroll, Mick, Kelly and so many more. It’s one of the top three longest running surf events in Australia and top ten in the world. It’s in its 31st year.

The Grommet Experience

When I was young, meeting Kelly a few times was pretty exciting. Having VIP passes to hang in the contest area was wild back then. All of us local groms were so stoked. It was epic!

Local Contenders

Ryan Callinan, Jacko Baker and myself are the three locals in the draw. No Novocastrian has ever won the men’s event, so I hope someone wins it soon. Our best chance is obviously Ryan, but I would honestly quit surfing if I won it. It would be like conquering the world. I'd give anything to get my name on that trophy, but it’s a very big ask.

The Forecast

Honestly, I can't believe how good the waves have been this summer. Hell, the last twelve months! For Newcastle it's been one of the best years in memory in terms of consistency. Barely a day under two feet, including summer, and that’s keeping in mind there’s usually a month or two of dead flat waves and northerlies. It's pretty wild how much swell we've had.

But in typical Surfest fashion the sand has built up quickly two weeks out from the event and ruined the amazing banks we’ve had for so long. The banks are not ideal at all but the swell on the charts is looking okay. Not the ideal direction but definitely some size, which will please almost all the competitors. If it’s bigger than two foot everyone will be stoked. I wish it was typical ‘off the rocks’ style conditions so that the local guys had a slight advantage over the field, as it does get very tricky on certain tides. It would be amazing for it to line up like that.

Watch the livestream, below.