The world's best surfers will converge on Margaret River from March 31 to April 9 for the biggest Masters surfing event in Western Australia to date.
Launching the Wet Dreams Masters 2001 event today, Tourism Minister Norman Moore said that for the first time, the event would have a six-star qualifying status, the highest possible rating on the World Qualifying Series tour.
The rise in status is accompanied by the most prizemoney for this event yet - $200,000.
"The Wet Dreams Masters has also been awarded prime location status, making it one of only two events in the world to be granted this honour,” Mr Moore said.
"This means that the event has now been allocated extra tour points which will attract about 300 international surfers to Margaret River."
The SunSmart Women's Classic, which is a 2-star World Qualifying Series event, will be held in Margaret River in conjunction with the Wet Dreams Masters.
Also at today's launch were three local surfers who are all currently rated in the top 10 on the World Championship Tour, which is a first for Western Australian surfing.
Defending SunSmart champion and world number six Melanie Redman, world number five and 1998 Masters Champion Jake Paterson, and world number six and 1997 Masters champion Taj Burrow are all looking forward to competing on home turf in March.
Mr Moore said the Wet Dreams Masters was likely to inject more than $1 million into the region's economy, thanks to its new status.
The South-West would directly benefit from the event through visitor expenditure and the international media coverage.
“Western Australia’s dramatic coastline will feature prominently as a natural backdrop when the event is televised worldwide,” Mr Moore said.
"Last year's Masters was seen by more than 70 million people in 48 countries.
“The media coverage will also reinforce the Brand WA qualities of ‘Fresh, Natural, Free and Spirited’ and significantly raise consumer awareness of Western Australia as a desirable eco-tourism destination.”
Mr Moore said the inclusion of the event in the 2001 Best on Earth in Perth event calendar further promoted Western Australia as a vibrant tourism destination.
Hartley Joynt, Minister’s office, 9321 1444,
Janine Carter, EventsCorp, 9270 3311,
Brad Cecins, Media Director, Wet Dreams Masters 0417 914 334