Garrett Parkes is always a contender in the Ben King Memorial Surf Classic.
Garrett Parkes is always a contender in the Ben King Memorial Surf Classic. Steve Robertson

They need to be good to win

SURFERS can expect plenty of competition in the open division at the annual Ben King Memorial Classic at Byron Bay next month.

Byron Bay Boardriders is hosting the event with club members Garrett Parkes, Luke Stickley and Danny Wills winning it in recent years.

Wills was the most recent club member to win the event in 2015 while former professional Kieran Perrow has also taken it out.

"You almost need to be professional or somewhere around that standard to win," event organiser Neil Cameron said.

"Garrett (Parkes) is always a chance and he can hang with the best on his day.

"Not many other events like this offer the $5000 prizmoney and there is an opportunity for World Qualifying Series surfers to come here and go home with some cash.

"They're the sort of guys you want here and someone from Le-Ba could easily win it too."

Cameron named Hinako Kurokawa as one to watch in the open women's division.

The Japanese surfer, who is part of the Byron Bay club, is currently competing in the Ichinomiya Chiba Open event on the WQS.

The Byron event is running for the 42nd time and was renamed in 2006 following the death of club stalwart Ben King, who died while competing in an event at Yamba.

It will be the fourth time it has been run in June after previously being held as the Easter Surf Classic in April.

It was moved to save money and avoid the Easter crowds that come to town for Bluesfest.

"People still get a bit confused but it's been a natural progression moving it to the June long weekend," Cameron said.

"Bluesfest was the final nail in the coffin and it was just getting too expensive for surfers to stay here over Easter.

"Easter is also a change of season where you can get anything from cyclones to dead flat waves.

"June has been a more settled period and we still expect to be at capacity with about 150 surfers.

"We're pretty flexible on entries and unless we get an abundance in the next week we'll take them all the way until the day before the competition."

There will be professional judges and electronic scoring making it as close to a professional event as possible.

The three-day competition will start on June 10 and will be based at Broken Head Beach. Entries can made at bksurfclassic.com.au.


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