Now in its second year, the Australian Surfing Festival will be once again held in the punchy beachbreaks of the Coffs Coast. Surfers from all disciplines and from every corner of the nation will descend upon the area in a bid to take out a coveted Australian Title. Focus caught up with Ethan Smith to get the lowdown on the event.
Briefly describe the Australian Surfing Festival …
The Australian Surf Festival is the biggest gathering of surfers in the country, with more than 500 surfers from all over the country competing in the 18 day surfing showpiece. National Titles will be decided in open shortboard, longboard, logger and bodyboard divisions.
When and where will it be held?
The Australian Surf Festival will take place from July 31 – August 17. Dates of each discipline are:
• Opening Ceremony – July 31
• Australian Surfmasters Titles – August 1 – 5
• Australian Longboard Titles – August 5 – 13
• Australian Logger Titles – August 6 – 9
• Australian Bodyboard Titles – August 13 – 17
Why was the Coffs Harbour area chosen to host the event?
Coffs Harbour is home to a vast array of different beach options that work in a variety of different wind and swell conditions. It’s this consistency, as well as its idyllic location, that make it such a desirable area to host an event of this calibre.
How many years has it been held in Coffs?
2015 will be the second year it has been held in Coffs.
How many competitors are expected to attend?
Over 500 boardriders, covering a range of different disciplines.
Are they expected to come from varying locations?
The Australian Surf Festival will see people from all corners of Australia, and each state will be represented by teams, which will contest all aforementioned divisions. Basically, each state team is patriotic and each competitor wants to take a title back to their respective state.
What Australian Titles will be decided at the event?
Open surfmasters, longboard, logger and bodyboard champions will all be crowned.
What are some of the other attractions that will be held around the contest?
The Hoey Moey will be hosting all respective opening and closing ceremonies, and there’ll be a wide variety of different educational opportunities for the local community also, including Surfing NSW’s award winning free CPR and board rescue course, Surfers Rescue 24/7.
With the event being mobile, is it likely that the contest will be moving amongst several locations?
Most certainly. Contest organisers will be actively seeking out the best conditions for eacg surfing discipline. Options include: Park Beach, Macauleys Beach, Diggers Beach, Jetty Beach, Gallows, Arrawarra, Mullaway, Woolgoolga, Emerald Beach and Sapphire Beach.
What makes the Australian Surfing Festival unique?
Apart from it being the largest gathering of boardriders in the country, the festival also unifies all disciplines into one large event, compared to nearly a decade ago when each code was run separately.
What do you think winning an Australian Title means to the competitors who take part in the festival?
Local Coffs Harbour surfer and former World Tour surfer Lee Winkler said it best recently when he stated: “The Australian Title has and always will be the benchmark of grassroots surfing competition and something that is fiercely contended”.
What are your hopes for the future of the event?
At this time, we look set to remain in Coffs Harbour for 2016 and look forward to bringing some of Australia’s most talented boardriders to the area.