DEFENDING Australian longboard champion Jackson Close has ensured a busy schedule at the upcoming Australian Surf Festival at Port Macquarie by adding stand-up paddle (SUP) surfing to his list of commitments.
Close won the Queensland SUP surfing titles at the weekend and will be carrying Queensland hopes in two divisions when Australia’s top amateur surfers converge on Port Macquarie from August 11-25.
More than 500 surfers from throughout Australia will compete in the event across five disciplines and 34 titles.
The event will feature national titles in longboard, open surf masters, SUP, alaia and single fin.
This year will also see the introduction of a new SUP racing division involving a technical race between 4-8km and a 20km marathon.
The longboard events will open the event and run through to August 18, with the SUP events to start the following day.
Close has consistently been one of the country’s best longboarders and SUP surfers.
He doesn’t have a preference, but is happy with the scheduling.
“I’m not sure why but it’s always easier to go from longboarding into the SUPs at an event and not the other way around,” Close said. “I change a fair bit as to which one I’m enjoying the most, but I’m just happy to take out whatever watercraft is available.
“I’m really looking forward to this year’s titles and I’m sure Queensland can put on a good show not just in the longboarding, but also in the SUPs as the titles just held were probably one of the hardest SUP events I’ve ever competed in.”