Surfing lovers were hit with some sad news today as it was announced that Newcastle’s iconic Surfest competition has been cancelled for 2021.
The 36th instalment was set to take place from February to March 2021, but organisers called it off due to safety concerns surrounding COVID-19.
The festival attracts talent from around the world, with athletes usually travelling from more than 30 nations to participate.
Surfest would also provide ten other national surfing competitions, as well as a range of onshore activities celebrating the diverse Hunter community.
While organisers and fans alike are deeply saddened by the decision to cancel the event, they’re not letting their disappointment slow things down.
Surfest Coordinator Warren Smith said he was excited to welcome competitors and fans back once the pandemic is under control.
“We are already planning now for Surfest 2022 and look forward to welcoming back the best surfers in the world to Newcastle again,” he said.
He hopes to make the next Surfest event even bigger and better.
Organisers are grateful for the patience of sponsors and community members, and said they’d like to thank everyone for their understanding and continued support.
Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said City of Newcastle respected the decision to protect community safety.
“Large-scale events that attract international visitors and competitors take months and months of careful preparation and planning, so it’s the right call to make this decision now,” she said.
“As a proud sponsor for the past 35 years, since its inception in 1985, City of Newcastle remains committed as the key major sponsor of this iconic event and we look forward to welcoming Surfest back to our amazing calendar of international, world-class sporting events in 2022.”
Surfest crowdfunding chairperson, Colin Law, agreed and said the safety of the community is paramount.
“It’s disappointing that Surfest won’t hit the water next year,” he said.
“But with so much uncertainty, and the likelihood of severe restrictions still impacting the event in March, we fully support the decision Warren has made.
“It will only give greater impetus to a crowd funding campaign for 2022.”