Newcastle’s favourite surfing competition is set to make a triumphant return in 2022.
After being cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, director Warren Smith says Surfest will be an incredible experience.
“It’s going to be fantastic and not only for just having a surfing event like Surfest back but also for the community to come back and celebrate life as, what I hope will be, ‘normal’,” he said.
“We are going to do our best for everyone to enjoy it.”
The news comes off the wake of the World Surfing League’s (WSL) Rip Curl Newcastle Cup, which landed in the city earlier this month.
It drew surfers from around the world to the region and put local stars Philippa Anderson, Morgan Cibilic, Ryan Callinan, Jackson Baker and newly-adopted Novocastrian Julian Wilson in the international spotlight.
The Surfest team was tasked with the responsibility of helping organise the event, which was a massive win for the region.
“It was difficult in a way because we knew we’d disappoint people that wouldn’t get to see it because of the COVID restrictions but it was a highlight for surfing in Newcastle,” Smith told the Newcastle Weekly.
“I think Newcastle should be proud of what we presented, it just would have been better in a normal life, but I guess in a normal life we wouldn’t have had it at all.
“We’re just very fortunate WSL chose to come to Newcastle and it was a fantastic experience.
“I think Newcastle shone.”
Smith adds that people can expect everything they have come to love at next year’s Surfest.
“We will be going through all our grassroots events and everything we look forward to in presenting Surfest and then, of course, the QS International events will be the highlight at the end of the whole two-month exercise,” he said.
“We thank the Newcastle community for supporting us.
“I hope we get the chance to enjoy it fully like we used to.”
Newcastle state MP Tim Crakanthorp is “absolutely stoked” the competition will return.
“We just saw what the Surfest team did with [City of Newcastle] with the WSL Newcastle Cup and it was phenomenal how they could get such a well-oiled machine up and running in such a short time,” he said.
“Surfest is the next level down, it’s the world qualifying series.
“But, it is a wonderful opportunity for so many of our young people in the Hunter to get their way up the surfing ladder and be seen throughout Australia and the world.
“It’s very good for surfers, it’s very good for tourism and it’s very good for Newcastle and the Hunter in terms of our economy as well.”