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Noosa Festival of Surfing boasts of more diversity

Jordan Spee © Noosa Festival



Noosa Festival of Surfing

More age divisions and craft added to the lineup

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 28 February, 2016 - The Laguna Real Estate Noosa Festival of Surfing isn’t just about watching the world’s best going head to head; it is a family affair, in and out of the water. The 2016 festival is more diverse than ever, expanding its age divisions, adding disciplines and sharing the stoke with watermen and women of all ages, from 8 to 80. Finless, long, short, paddle and standup boards will be ridden dawn to dusk, with the opening day of exciting events taking place little more than a week away on Friday, March 4.

The 25th annual festival will commence with the Noosa Heads Surf Club Waterman Weekend, uniting the old foes of surfies and clubbies in a display of talents, from bodysurfing and paddle board surfing to prone and standup paddle races. The Noosa Heads Surf Club has always been a cornerstone of Noosa’s aquatic community, and a longstanding supporter of the festival. Waterman Weekend celebrates the diversity of ocean goers who share the same joy and love of the water, however they might interpret it. Friday evening will also host a Celebrity Ironman event, pitting lifesavers and surfboard riders against each other in a display of their array of talents.

The nippers will also have their time to shine, presenting a display of their skills and showing us the potential of the next generation. The Halse Lodge Backpackers’ Challenge returns again in 2016, former pro-surfer and Noosa surf coach Merrick Davis giving a selection of our backpacking guests a crash course before they are unleashed on the waves of First Point. The event is a tag-team challenge, a true demonstration that surfing is for everyone, whatever their ability. Halse Lodge will also host a celebratory after-party on the Sunday evening, keeping the liquid stoke flowing beyond the sand and sunset.

Surfers never die, they just get bigger boards, or so the saying goes, and long-standing festival sponsor, World Surfaris is honouring the silver surfers of the senior divisions. The World Surfaris Men’s 55s, 60s and 65s divisions is a twofold salute to gentlemen nearing retirement. Not only do these divisions prove that surfing has no age limit, but World Surfaris recognizes that many of their best customers are of a certain age. You don't need to give up the dreams of tropical surf adventure just because there’s a little snow on the old summit, and World Surfari’s bespoke packages cater to all ages and all abilities. The World Surfari crew will be shouting a drink for these competitors on Monday night.

The McTavish Trim Invitational is new this year, presented by ‘The Mayor of Noosa’ and living legend, Bob McTavish. Some of the best trimmers in the world will be invited to stand and deliver in this unique event where the less you do the more you score! The McTrim is all about distance covered, from break to beach, with a laser measuring system employed to calculate the length of ride. Wave reading, style, finesse and, of course, a whole heap of trim must be employed in order to clock up the longest ride possible from surf to sand. No big manoeuvres, just good, old-fashioned shooting down the line.

The Old Mal is a fond favourite of the Laguna Real Estate Festival of Surfing, but this year welcomes back Gordon & Smith as presenting sponsor. The brand was founded way back in the late 1950s and has been a benchmark for surfboard design for many of those years. In tribute to Larry Gordon, co-founder of the brand, who passed away early this year, the event includes G&S team riders Dane Wilson and Ricky Cunningham, riding models from the 1960s, including a classic, restored Bobby Brown Stringerless board. 

The G&S Old Mal is open to all, but all equipment must be verified as pre-1968. Surfers are invariably riding boards older than themselves, but experience and talent allows them to make the most of these heavy, unforgiving boards. Judging employs the traditional criteria, turning First Point into a flashback to the halcyon days of longboarding.

Thomas Leitch

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