Big Break earns shot at WQS

Bargara’s Rhys Smith has long demonstrated the ability to make it on the world surfing tour but a lack of financial backing to kick start his journey has always curtailed that dream.

The 22-year-old had a sporadic junior career speckled with highlights that included making the finals of the Rip Curl Grom Search six years ago, but the costs of travelling with no major sponsor blunted any momentum.

But that fact never darkened Smith’s hopes of one day cracking the big time, and now that dream is one step closer to reality after the natural footer entered Jim Beam’s innovative new on-line competition The Break.

It will enable one lucky male surfer to “catch the break of a life-time” – $50,000 sponsorship in cash and prizes to help in an assault on next year’s World Qualifying Series tour.

And the part-time hospitality worker thinks he has an advantage over his rivals too – growing up and surfing the small sloppy conditions often thrown up at Bargara.

“I have always wanted to compete more but it’s tough with the money side of things because it makes it hard if you don’t have it,” Smith said. “I’m not 17 anymore and need to move on it now. That’s why winning this competition would be so important to me.”

The WQS, the step below surfing’s premier global circuit, the ASP World Tour, is held all over the world.

Surfers over the age of 18 that are unsigned to a major endorsement deal can register online at but they have only until this Sunday to submit a 60 second highlight package of their best waves as well as a short insight into their character out of the surf.

From there, 40 men and 20 women will be announced as semi-finalists, going to public and judges’ votes in online heats over two months, before 15 finalists will be selected to attend the Jim Beam The Break surf camp in January.

The camp will feature free surfing displays, physical testing, media training and a marketing session before the overall winner is selected.

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