Gold Coast Queensland, Australian surfing legend, 1999 World Champion Mark "Occy" Occhilupo and local Burleigh Heads rising star Thomas Woods have been confirmed as wildcards for next week's Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 4-Star, US$85,000 Breaka Burleigh Pro.
Occhilupo competed in last year's inaugural Breaka Burleigh Pro, which included a memorable Round of 96 win over former sparring partner, the enigmatic Nicky Wood (AUS), who famously won the Bells Beach Pro as a teenager in the 1980's.
Thomas Woods will be flying the famous red-and-white flag of the Burleigh Heads Boardriders Club, with the red-hot teenager sure to cause a few headaches for the world's best surfers at his local break, having knocked out ASP World Tour competitor Tom Whitaker (AUS) in last year's Round of 64.
While Occhilupo and Woods will headline the Wildcard competitors at this year's event, Rhys Stevens, a 22-year-old Bulimba (Brisbane, Qld) marketing rep will be throwing his hat into the professional surfing ring, as Breaka Flavoured Milk's "Win a Wildcard" competition winner.
Growing up in the New South Wales surf-rich town of Port Macquarie, Rhys started surfing at the age of eight, before moving to Brisbane, entering the workforce and like so many others, forgoing an iconic Australian childhood dream of becoming a professional surfer.
Breaka Senior Product Manager Mel Beikoff said Breaka Flavoured Milk is proud to offer local surfers the chance to compete on an international stage. "There are so many talented surfers in Queensland and Breaka is proud to give them what could be their big break," said Beikoff.
"So many surfers drink Breaka because we've got a long association with healthy lifestyles and outdoor sport, so we're absolutely stoked to be able to be a part of the event." she said.
Other ASP World Tour competitors joining Occhilupo and Co. for the 2011 Breaka Burleigh Pro include defending champion Taj Burrow (AUS), Joel Parkinson (AUS), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Kieren Perrow (AUS), Brett Simpson (USA), Pat Gudauskas (USA), Tiago Pires (PRT), Adam Melling (AUS), Daniel Ross (AUS), Josh Kerr (AUS), Dusty Payne (HAW), Julian Wilson (AUS) and local hero Jay 'Bottle' Thompson (AUS).
The 2011 Breaka Burleigh Pro marks the beginning of ASP Australasia's Prime and Star rated tour series.
In 2010, Breaka Flavoured Milk returned professional surfing to its spiritual home of Burleigh Heads after almost a 10-year hiatus from the iconic surfing venue.
The Breaka Burleigh Pro is proudly supported by Breaka Flavoured Milk, Surfing Queensland, ASP Australasia, Channel 7, brisbanetimes.com.au, Nova 106.9fm, SEA FM, Ooh!, Coastalwatch, Australia's Surfing Life, GCCC, XXXX Summer Bright Lager, JR Surfboards, 5 and a half Sunglasses and Air Asia.
The Breaka Burleigh Pro will be broadcast LIVE via breakaburleighsurfpro.com.au Daily TV newsfeeds and high quality complimentary digital images along with press releases will be made available throughout the event.
The Breaka Burleigh Pro will commence on February 16 and conclude February 20, 2011.