Jewel in the Novacastrian summer calendar Surfest 2016 stunned beach going locals, surfing enthusiasts and tourists alike. Our beautiful Merewether Beach the sensational backdrop to this world renowned event, crisp white sand and clear blue sky day, Newcastle at its very best. The final day of competition, sun-drenched spectators in record numbers lined the beach jostling for the best vantage point, binoculars in hand, microphone commentary blasting across the beach. Jam-packed minutes of trilling wave action, time winds down to the final horn. Pro-surfer rock stars captivating the crowd banked 3 people deep, a mix of surfing pro’s, veterans, local beach bums, inspiration hungry grommets and families.
Banks of surf photographers hugged the shoreline, strategically positioned paparazzi, poised for the perfect aerial surf stunt. Days of howling southerlies and sizable swell compliments of Cyclone Winston belting in to Newcastle’s beaches, culminated in its final day of picture perfect conditions. Showcasing our beautiful city, and throwing off the shackles of the gritty industrial steel city image, instead catapulting our beaches and surf break to a world class standard, an enviable achievement to the Newcastle and Australian tourism industry.
Triumphant, taking to the winner’s podium and to the pleasure of screaming fans and support crews, congratulations and coveted trophies are presented to winners Matt Wilkinson and Sally Fitzgibbons, beaming with smiles and thanks hoisting their trophies victoriously, before showering the thrilled crowd in a traditional spray of Champaign.
Surfest in its 35th year was crowd funded in a world first, 73 contributions by businesses in the Newcastle region ensured the 2016 Surfest had crowd-surfed its way to securing many of the best female surfers on the planet. “We’ve crowd-surfed during the past three decades, but never quite like this,” Surfest chief Warren Smith said. The crowd-funding idea was the brainchild of the Commonwealth Bank’s Business Banking Manager, Colin Law. “World Surf League management are thrilled at the success of this initiative. It’s that sense of community connectivity in Newcastle that makes the area stand out in our view. There’s few contests in the world that have enjoyed the longevity that Surfest has had and it’s clear the event enjoys a special place in the social and sporting fabric of New South Wales,” The World Surf League’s Australasian Tour Manager Will Hayden-Smith said.
Whilst checking out the fun and action of the pro-surfer scene, you may have also caught a glimpse of the big yellow bus parked next to Merewether Surfhouse, with a funky group sunbaking on its rooftop. This is fun and energetic bunch are travelling Australia for a great cause, the ‘Melow Yellow Bus’ is a group spreading good vibes and raising awareness for mental health. ‘We are supporting Headspace, a national youth mental health foundation providing early intervention mental health services for 12-25 year olds.’ ‘We have also jumped on-board with a surfing based mental health awareness initiative called ‘One Wave is all it Takes.’ Follow their journey on instagram @mellow.yellow.bus. Donations can be made through their everyday hero’s account on their website www.mellowyellowbus.com.
*source: www.surfest.com and www.mellowyellowbus.com