CHAMPIONSHIP TOUR COMPETITOR: Keely Andrew is one of the Sunshine Coast's bright new surfing stars.
CHAMPIONSHIP TOUR COMPETITOR: Keely Andrew is one of the Sunshine Coast's bright new surfing stars. Contributed

Coast labelled world’s best base for female surfers

SURFING: A respected local sports identity has touted the Sunshine Coast as the world’s best base for female surfers.

A host of the region’s women and girls now compete across the globe on a regular basis, including Championship Tour contender Keely Andrew and reigning junior world title holder Isabella Nichols.

Just last week, they joined Dimity Stoyle, Sophie McCulloch, Tori Farmer and Jaleesa Vincent at a highly-rated competition in Mexico.

“I dont think there’s ever been one region that’s had that many surfers at a world Qualifying Series event,” Ocean Performance Centre manager Kerry Keightley said.

“It is a pretty massive achievement.

“I think globally when it comes to representation we’re probably the strongest female base in the world.

“(Regions) of Hawaii might have only had two or four (at Mexico).

“Has Santa Cruz got six girls at a QS event? No it hasn’t, but somehow we have.”

Keightley believed Stoyle, who competed on the CT in 2014 and 2015, paved the way for a new generation of high-class surfers here.

“Dimity broke the seal and showed the other girls it can be done,” he said.

He also believed the climate, surf, culture and support systems were near-perfect on the Coast.

“Our waves suit them,” he said.

“Hawaii, Brazil and some of the other places aren’t that friendly for girls to get out and have a go whereas we’ve got beautifiul summers, bikini weather and light beach breaks.

“It just tailor makes it for the girls.”

And Keightley expects the region to lead the charge for at least the next decade.

“It’s the start of a new era on the Coast for female surfing,” he said.

“The girls have formed such a push that it’s going to go on for the next 10 years. Here at the OPC, we’ve probably got another 20 or 30 kids from 8-14 years old and they all want to be Sophie or Jaleesa.