ULLADULLA's Russell Bierke is out to build on his debut season on the World Surf League Big Wave Tour, as the window for the 2019/20 campaign opened on November 1.
The series, which will run through March 31, will now feature the Jaws Big Wave Championships and the Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge - two new events that will showcase the best of big wave surfing in the paddle and tow-in disciplines.
A must-see for every surf enthusiast, the Jaws Big Wave Championships - which will feature the Ulladulla High School alumnus - is the world's premier paddle-only big wave event. It takes place at the famed Pe'ahi surf break on the north shore of Maui, Hawaii.
Rich with the sport's history of innovation and progression, the contest brings the world's elite male and female athletes together at the ultimate proving ground to compete for the coveted championship.
This season, Bierke, who recently starred in the short film 'Flow State' produced by Mollymook's Andrew Kaineder, and the other 23 men's competitors will be divided into four heats of six surfers for the first round.
Heats are generally 45 minutes and surfers may catch as many waves as they wish with a panel of five judges scoring each ride on a scale of one to 10.
Each competitor's two best waves are counted, with their best wave score doubled.
The three highest-scoring surfers advance to the semi-finals, which run in the same format, and the top three from the semi-finals advance to the final.
The women's division runs in a similar format with 10 competitors participating in two five-surfer semi-finals, with the top three surfers in each heat advancing to the final.