One of the most iconic surf events in Australia, Surfest has more than 30 years of history propelling it into the future. Landing in Newcastle from February 2 through March 17, it’s six weeks of oceanic battles. From the opening rounds of the wildcard trials, to the Wandiyali Indigenous Classic, to the crowning of an eventual WSL QS champion, there’s no shortage of action on the beach at Merewether.
Founded in 1985, this year the 33rd running of the Surfest will feature a remarkable 12 different surfing competitions and draw over 700 surfers from around the world. Needless to say, that’s a big surf contest. Mark “MR” Richards, or “the mayor of Merewether” as the good, old boys sometimes call him, is the patron of the event and continues to be one of Australia’s most iconic surfers.
Besides MR, Merewether’s produced luminary talents such as Luke Egan, Matt Hoy, Simon Law and Nicky Wood. Previous Surfest winners include Kelly Slater, Joel Parkinson, Mick Fanning, and most recently, Mikey Wright, who took the title in 2018.
A large part of the allure of Surfest is the classic Aussie surf set-up at Merewether. Home to beautiful right-handers that funnel down the rock and sand bottom off Merewether beach, it definitely can have its day. Firing on a south swell, when Parko won back in 2013 it was in six-foot, stand-up tubes. That year the Surfest made more history by becoming the first pro contest to be held inside a harbor. Thanks to a huge low-pressure system, the beach was completely out of control…and somehow it was perfect in the Newcastle Harbor.
In 2009, Merewether was named a national surfing reserves because of its unique surf breaks, its storied history and continuing importance to not only the Australian surfing community, but surfers around the world.
The two big events at the 2018 Surfest will be the men’s and women’s QS 6,000s: the men’s Maitland and Port Stephens Toyota Pro and the crowd-funded Surfest Women’s Pro. In 2018 Newcastle will be one of the first stops on the Aussie leg of the QS, making it an important stop for competitors hoping to get a jump on the year and the ratings.
Supporting the pro-level contests will be a myriad of more community-based events. The Orica Team Challenge is expected to draw around 100 of the state’s most competitive surfers from along the coastline of New South Wales. The Wandiyali ATSI Indigenous Classic will offer the nation’s biggest purse for indigenous surfers. And the Sanbah Cadet Cup and the Dalton Lawyers Cadet are in place to give the youth a way to participate. There is also the Maitland and Port Stephens Toyota High Schools Team Challenge for high school teams from over 50 metropolitan and regional high schools throughout the state.
Surfest Newcastle Australia 2018 gets underway with The Lake Mac Festival of Surfing at Redhead Beach on January 20, 2018 and will conclude on February 25, 2018 at Merewether Beach following the crowning of the Maitland and Port Stephens Toyota Pro and the Surfest Women’s Pro champions.
This year RadSeason.com joins the Surfest team at the digital media partner. It’s a great opportunity to work with some of the best and brightest surfing talent throughout Australia, as well as reach a larger, international audience.
“We are delighted to share our world-class event, Surfest 2019, with Rad Season,” explained Surfest Organizer Warren Smith.
“Rad Season will allow us to further promote the event to a wider, more digitally capable audience hungry for new and exciting events like ours.”
There will be all kinds of great content opportunities unfolding in the weeks and months ahead of Surfest 2019, as well as a ton of news and information about what’s happening in Newcastle and how you can get involved or just go enjoy the show.
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