What’s On? Byron Bay Surf Festival: 20-24 February
Are you a surf junkie? Love riding the waves? Or perhaps you are a fan or just appreciate the surfing vibe? Then you should plan to take a holiday to Byron Bay for the weekend of 20-24 February.
The Byron Bay Surf Festival will feature everything from actual surfing to art and film about surfing. Founded in 2010, the festival serves to bring together surfers and those who love the culture surrounding the sport to celebrate both the industry and lifestyle in an internationally famous surf community.
The Byron Bay Surf Festival, a four-day event (with a few pre-festival events), will feature approximately 10 programs, both free and ticketed, that includes everything from surf sessions, surfboard markets, art show, film viewings, yoga workshop, presentations, panels and demonstrations.
Most of the events take place in the main town centre of Byron Bay, on and off the beach, as well as Wategos Beach where the main surf sessions on Sunday will be held.
Pre-Festival and Friday Events
- BBSF Photo Competition & Exhibition: Visit the McTavish Outpost Store on Thursday evening to see enjoy a beverage and music while you view the winners of the photo competition. Guest judges will unveil winners in three categories: Grommets, Hobbyist and Pro.
- Surf Legends Lounge: Kicking off the festival early this year on Thursday night (21 February), the Surf Legends Lounge, held at the Byron Bay Community Centre, will be hosted by Vaughan Blakery and feature special guests Mark Occhilupo, Dave Rastovich, Taylor Steele (USA), Dick Hoole and more. According to the website, “This talkback/Q&A style event will be both informative and entertaining. Come out and meet our special guest surfers, activists and filmmakers, as we dig in to surfing, and the lives of those deeply involved through the eras.”
- New this year! Fluro Friday: Get up early and head to The Pass. Dress “Fluro and funky” and go surfing while supporting mental health. This free event takes place from 6:30 to 7:30 am.
- New this year! Women’s Panel with World Champs: This ticketed event takes place from 10 to 11:30 am on Friday at Beach Hotel. Three World Champion Surfers Stephanie Gilmore, Lisa Andersen (USA) and Kelia Muniz (HAW). The website says: “Our special guest hosts will be talking with the girls in a live Q&A format about life, surfing, winning, success with its ups and downs, and making their mark in what was once a hugely male dominated sport.”
- Art Show: Held at the Lone Goat Gallery from 5:30 to 7 pm on Friday, the 2019 BBSF Art Show will have a showing from this year’s featured artists: Nanda Ormond (NZ), Luke Day, Filippa Edghill (NOR), James McMillan, Jaleesa Vincent, Kentharo Yoshida (JPN), Duncan Macfarlane, and surf photographer Ted Grambeau.
- Twilight Surf Art Market: Held in Dening Park prior to and along with the Sunset Cinema from 3 to 9:30 pm, the free Surf Art Markets will feature local and international vendors, such as food and beverage trucks as well as live music.
- Sunset Cinema: Also held at Denning Park, beachside, the event will open with traditional indigenous Welcome to Country, an acoustic music set and then will conclude with a showing of a short film and the Australian premiere of “Trouble,” the Lisa Anderson story.
- Friday Night Live Music: For the 18 and over crowd, head over to the Beach Hotel for live music and drinks starting at 9 pm, Friday night.
- Surf Art Markets: From 9 am to 5 pm in Denning Park, you’ll find, according to the website, “a wide range of the best surfboard craftsmen, artists, fashion designers, thinkers, creatives, hat making workshop, talks, environmental groups, yummy food & bevs, with all of it beating along to the sounds and vibes of many live music acts including Tay Oskee, Nick Cunningham, Sophie Ozard, and many more.”
- Yoga Sessions, 8-9:30 am: Offering a Vinyasa flow session followed by 30 minutes of Breath & Meditation.
- Shaka Yurt: Taking place throughout the day at Dening Park, there will be Q&As, panels, discussions and more, starting at 9:45 am. Alll events are free.
- Movies & Stories: The evening portion kicks off with three movie showings at the Byron Bay Community Centre, starting at 4 pm. All three are ticketed events. First off, “Overcoming” at 4 pm, followed by “Momentum Generation” and finally “Beyond Litmus” at 8 pm, which includes a Q&A with Andrew Kidman and Derek Hynd.
- Live Music: Presented by the Beach Hotel and Stone & Wood, enjoy an evening of fun and unwinding at the Beach Hotel starting at 9 pm. This is a ticketed event.
Sunday Surf Sessions
Surf Sessions: Featuring “some of surfing’s best and most eccentric sliders and brand new progressive wave-riding categories as well as the all-inclusive BBSF Party Wave. Registration opens on the beach at 7 am, with the first session starting at 8 am. This day of surfing will be held on Australia’s easterly point at Wategos Beach. Look for more details to come on the BBSF website.
During the surf sessions, you’ll be able to watch “The McTavish Trim” starting at 9 am. Developed by Bob McTavish and his team, 18 invited surfers try to make the longest distance surfed.Boards must be over 10 feet in length.
Wrap Up Party: Head back to the Beach Hotel for the Wrap Party, live music from the Beautiful Girls and cold brew served by Stone & Wood. It starts at 5 pm.
Plan to stay at Broken Head for the Surf Festival
Get off the beaten path and relax in the quiet surrounds of Broken Head Holiday Park for your holiday weekend. After the busy days and evenings of the Byron Bay Surf Festival, it would be nice to stay in a place where you truly can enjoy some peace and quiet. Plus, you’ll save a few dollars by staying at the campsites or beach shacks at Broken Head Holiday Park.
So if you love to surf, used to surf and still love it, collect surfboards or just like to soak up the culture, make reservations to come to Byron Bay at the end of this month!