International boost for Margaret River Pro (cloned for SW 1352706626)
Taj Burrow

The world’s best surfers are set to become an annual fixture in the South West, after the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro was added to the World Championship Tour.

The elevation, endorsed by the Association of Surfing Professionals, guarantees the top 32 ranked male and top 18 ranked female surfers in the world will compete at the event, which is held at the popular Surfers Point break.

Premier Colin Barnett described the upgrade as a major sporting coup for WA.

“This is a fantastic outcome for WA and in particular the Margaret River region, as it will drive visitation and provide priceless international exposure,” he said.

ASP WCT status for the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro will kick in next year for the women’s event and in 2014 for the men’s competition. Both licences extend until 2017.

Surfing WA CEO Mark Lane confirmed the agreement had been struck with ASP during a final meeting in California last week.

“This has been a long and serious negotiation over the past 12 months and completes the transition of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro back onto the elite world stage, where this event truly belongs,” he said.

The length of the competition will also be extended from seven days to 12.

Despite remaining a second tier Prime Event for men next year, the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro is expected to attract the cream of Australia’s surf talent including Joel Parkinson, Mick Fanning, Taj Burrow, Owen Wright and Julian Wilson.

The Drug Aware Margaret River Pro will be held from March 16 to 24, 2013.

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