Festival of Fun NFOS 2022
The Noosa Festival of Surfing was cranking again in 2022. John Caruso caught up with the Josh Allen, the organiser who made sure the event was firing!
In 1992, the Noosa Malibu Club started what was known as the Noosa Malibu Classic and a few years later, Phil Jarratt and few of his close mates started the Noosa Festival of Surfing which has now been running for more than two decades.
A changing of the guard a few years ago allows Phil to enjoy the Festival and participate with less pressure, particularly at the Festival’s Beach Bar.
Festival organiser Josh Allen of Event Generals said the festival had been running for twenty-six years and it’s grown from a small competition for long boarders to what it is today – one of the biggest surfing festivals in the world with international guests and a huge contingent of surfers from all around the country.
“I’d been involved for four years, and this was my second year as event organiser,” explains Josh. “At the core of it, it is a celebration of all things surf with twenty-three divisions hotly contested.”
The Beach Bar on Noosa’s Main Beach was again the Festival hub where locals mingled with surfing greats and special events were held from beach training, performance breathing and ice baths; to our cover artist Tracy Naughton’s “She to Sea” Exhibition celebrating International Women’s Day.
“You can bet there were terrific surfing yarns exchanged over a few cold ones just like every other year,” Josh said. “Surf art continues to be an important part of the festival and surf culture has had great exposure with surfboard shaping, we’ve got some very talented surfboard shapers in Noosa and all of that was part of the Noosa Festival of Surfing,” says Josh.
Each year the event offers a platform for juniors from eight years of age right through to seniors and the importance of the festival shouldn’t be underestimated.
“The oldest competitor was seventy-six and the stage it provides to up-and-coming surfers is huge,” he said. “It might not be considered a World Surf League (WSL) competition like it was a few years ago but we’re hoping to get that back again. But even without the WSL involved, the platform that the Festival creates for the juniors coming through is immense.
“We’re also giving seniors that opportunity to wind back the clock and surf with their mates.
“That’s really important and the Noosa Festival of Surfing has developed a great reputation from events like that,” Josh says.
“The dog surfing was as popular this year as it has always been, thousands gathered to watch that event, they do every time. Chiggy’s Skate Fest, a popular skate jam with skate lessons and free skate sessions, ran for the second year in a row, the Melanoma March was really important as far as raising awareness and funds for an important cause and the IN Noosa Magazine fashion parade returned to bring a touch of glamour to the beach bar,” he said.
The future looks bright and this year’s festival attracted more guests and more sponsors compared to the year before.
“It’s important to keep growing the Festival but to do it in a respectful and sustainable way,” he said. “There has always been a strong focus on environmental awareness and sustainability and this is embedded in the Festival’s DNA.”
This really comes to life with the key events that are held out of the water, including at the newly-established Noosa Surf Museum; The J Noosa; Reef Hotel, Sunshine Beach Surf Club and more.
According to Josh the economic injection into the local Noosa area is around six to seven million dollars.
“Three hundred and fifty competitors, half of which are coming from interstate; on average they’re paying for about seven or eight nights of accommodation, and then they’ve got to feed themselves, so they’re in the local cafes and restaurants, not just down Hastings Street, but also in Noosaville and Tewantin and then there’s the local tours that they do when they’re not in the water. And we also run several events at different venues too. Collectively, that serves the local economy extremely well and people love the event because of that,” Josh says.
Message from the Director
When World Surfaris took over the management of the Noosa Festival of Surfing just 6 months prior to the staging of the event in 2019, we were highly aware that the Festival had been running for nearly 3 decades. During our custodianship of the Festival (on behalf of the Noosa Malibu Club), we wanted the Festival’s core foundations to be solid and sustainable, to ensure longevity for the next 30 years. Having been a small sponsor of the Festival for many years previously, we knew that there were changes that could be readily introduced that would significantly improve sustainability. One example was the total elimination of single
use plastics, especially in the Beach Bar. Another was to measure the extent of our environmental footprint – if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage and improve it. We implemented a Sustainability Report in our first year to document our efforts, successes and failures.
We had excellent help in implementing our vision from the sustainability guru Amanda Pummer, as well as from Tourism Noosa and Plastic Free Noosa. We are very proud that the sustainability initiatives implemented by World Surfaris for the Festival have become the gold standard for events in Noosa.