February through April is the season for surf in Australia, and as summer heats up, so does the competition. Be sure to catch these major surfing events.
Australia is where the surfing pros come to test their skills against the waves and each other. World-class surfers meet world-class waves in these top-notch surfing competitions.
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, Queensland. This event runs from the end of February to the beginning of March and takes place at Snapper Rocks – a beach famous for some of the world’s longest waves. With over half a million dollars in the prize pool, this World Series opener draws the best of the best. White sand beaches, world-class surfing and an electric party scene make this event a favorite for both fans and competitors.
Surfest, New South Wales. Early March finds over 10,000 people lining Newcastle’s Merewether Beach for Australia’s biggest surfing festival. Merewether Beach is famous for huge southerly swells and right-hand breaks. The competitions at Surfest include two World Series Qualifying Series events – the women’s 1-star Newcastle Open and the men’s 4-star Burton Toyota Pro. Additional events include the Indigenous Classic as well as junior and high school competitions.
Drug Aware Pro, Western Australia. Surfers Point in Margaret River hosts up to 200 world-class surfers for this “prime-rated” competition where World Qualifying Series rating points and $100,000 are at stake. This mid-March event is also the perfect opportunity to enjoy local music, art and wine.
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, Victoria. Spend Easter with several thousand other spectators at the world’s longest-running surf contest. Bells Beach is famous for an A-grade right-hand reef break as well as “The Bowl” and “Rincon” sections. A concurrent music festival offers additional entertainment from top Australian artists.
Surf Lifesaving Events
Since the first lifesaving club formed in 1906 at Bondi Beach, lifesavers have rescued approximately half a million people from the ocean around Australia. Every year, lifesavers and aspiring lifesavers test their mettle in these intense competitions.
Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Ironman & Ironwoman Series, Queensland & NSW. This five-event series takes place at the end of January and beginning of February and includes competitions in surf, ski, board paddle, ocean swim and beach sprints. The first four events take place along the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, while the final is staged at Cronulla Beach in Sydney.
Australian Surf Life Saving Championships, Queensland. For four days in March, over 7,000 lifesavers compete in nearly 300 events in the biggest competition of its kind. The Gold Coast is home to this competition covering the spectrum from Ironman and Ironwoman events to surf boat races, as well as rescue and resuscitation relays.
Coolangatta Gold, Queensland. No ordinary triathlon, this event has been called, “one of the most grueling physical events on the planet” –- and for good reason. The men’s event and team race includes a ski paddle, surf swim, board paddle and beach run over a 50-kilometer loop starting from Surfers Paradise. The women’s event begins in Greenmount and covers a shorter course. Thousands of spectators cheer on the intrepid 500 or so athletes from around the world who come to compete in this endurance event.
World Life Saving Championships - Rescue 2012, South Australia. This event takes place in November, comprising five separate World Championships including the World National Team Championships, World Interclub Championships, World Masters Championships, World Surf Boat Championships and World Inflatable Rescue Boat Championships. Competition will take place at Adelaide’s Glenelg Beach, as well as at Christies Beach and Marion’s aquatic centre. Events include swimming, simulated emergency rescue, Ironman and Ironwoman, surf-ski, board, beach sprints, beach flags, surf boats and inflatable rescue boats.
The famous Ironman/Ironwoman triathlons are considered part of the Australian surf lifesaving events. Below are two of Australia’s premier Ironman/Ironwoman events.
Ironman and Ironwoman Australia, New South Wales. May is the time and Port Macquarie is the place for this physically and technically demanding triathlon. Competitors tackle a 2.4 mile swim and bike 112 miles before running a full marathon – 26.2 miles. The prize for the winner is a coveted place at the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.
Ironman Western Australia, Western Australia. Be prepared. This December race begins at dawn in Busselton, a beach town near the Margaret River region. This triathlon consists of a 3.8 kilometer swim, a 180 kilometer bicycle ride and a 42.2 kilometer run. There are only 1,400 spots in the race, but registration is open to anyone. For those who make it through the race, there is a post-race party and awards ceremony. Spectators or competitors with any energy left can surf, snorkel, trek or sample the region’s delicious food and wine.
Whether you’re a competitor or a spectator, Australia has plenty of surfing events to bring excitement to your summer.
This guest post article was written and provided by Erica Gustafson who is an avid Australia traveler, freelance writer and digital media consultant for Expedia. When traveling to Australia she enjoys staying at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne hotel.