Surfer Jay Phillips in the Coolum Classic Surfing Contest.
Surfer Jay Phillips in the Coolum Classic Surfing Contest. Brett Wortman

Fingal surfer gains wildcard

FINGAL Head's Jay Phillips is looking forward to surfing Burleigh Point with only three other guys out.

"It's a dream," Mr Phillips said.

This morning he won wildcard entry to the Breaka Burleigh Pro running February 8-12, without even getting his hair wet.

The Snapper Rocks Surfriders member said there must have been some "cool kids" who voted him into the spot.

"I was in it last year and made it from the first round to the round of 64 - about four rounds before the final.

"There were two entries given but because of our club - we've got so many good surfers - they gave us the choice of three.

"Jimmy Wallace from the Sunshine Coast came second and there were some other big names in there like Michael Lester and Clint Kimmins."

He said the voting system of a half or full Breaka milk was "real heartfelt - they obviously didn't want to give me a half milk or no milk at all".

"It was a really weird way of giving someone a wildcard spot.

"I was actually bummed half-way through, because I thought I should have put an entry in anyway."

The 35 year old gave up professional surfing at about 21 after enjoying a stellar junior career, then becoming a young dad.

"In the last few years since my daughter was born I wanted to show her I could still compete," Mr Phillips said.

"Now she's out there surfing, and really looking up to girls like Stephanie Gilmore.

"I think what motivates me the most is the good boards and the waves we've got on offer around here."

The seasoned pro will also head to Manly soon to commentate for his sponsor Hurley, during the Billabong-sponsored Australian Open of Surfing.

He said he was pleased to see so many events offering opportunities for younger pro surfers to get their start.

Taj Burrow won the Breaka Burleigh during 2010 and 2011, but Mr Phillips said he was not fazed by names such as Joel Parkinson and Bede Durbidge competing this year.

"You don't want to be intimidated paddling out there, 'cause I've seen these kids grow up.

"It'll just be good to get a wave or two off them.

"They give me so much respect out in the surf when the waves are good and big - I'm really happy I grew up on the Gold Coast.

"It's centre-stage of surfing now, showcasing the best talent in the world.

"I'm really happy to see an event back at Burleigh and I thank Breaka for giving me the opportunity to show what I've still got."