Surfs Up – Noosa Festival of Surfing
When John Brasen, Phil Jarratt and John Lee first gathered over a beer to discuss the notion of a surfing event on their sleepy home breaks of Noosa, they couldn’t possibly have hoped, much less imagined, that over the next three decades their humble ‘Noosa Malibu Classic’ would swell into the largest surfing event in the world, the Noosa Festival of Surfing. Thomas Alexander rides the wave.
Attracting an 800-strong contingent of passionate surfers from dozens of countries and spanning an 80-year age bracket, the original Noosa Malibu Classic, now globally renowned as the Noosa Festival of Surfing, has weathered the COVID storm, struggled through waveless years, and is back – as bright and stoke-filled as ever – in 2022.
Bringing many millions of tourist dollars to the township, the Noosa Festival of Surfing is always a boon for the economy, but it is the culture and camaraderie of the global surfing community that have firmly instilled the event in the annals and heart of longboarding.
Each year, the festival is rebuilt, redesigned and reconfigured from scratch. With Jarratt – the last man standing of those three musketeers of surf – hanging up his festival hat four years ago, the event has now fallen into the adept hands of World Surfaris and in particular, event organiser and director Josh Allen.
“The festival changes from year-to-year,” Josh reflects. “We try to bring something new and innovative to each event and 2022 will be no exception as we look to engage both the surf and non-surf community at several venues around Noosa and of course the famous beach bar.”
Behind-the-scenes work has been charging along in earnest for several months now, and the 2022 Noosa Festival of Surfing is taking shape spectacularly. Long-time local surfer and perennial event competitor Gregg Piercey has stepped up from his role as last year’s multiple division sponsor.
Over 50s lifestyle resort business, GemLife, takes a much-appreciated place as next year’s presenting partner for a schedule as packed as Noosa’s points on a perfect weekend swell.
Longstanding favourites, such as the impeccable 9-day beach bar and inordinately popular VetShopAustralia Surfing Dog Spectacular will return to the delight of surfers and non-surfers, locals and tourists alike. Conscious and inspirational surf brand, Vissla, made its first mark on the event this year, hosting a live surfboard shaping bay all week long. Vissla rejoins the festival in 2022 to support the fine art of shaping in a celebration of the craftsmen of yesteryear and today.
Hosted by the Noosa Surfing Museum, locals Thomas Bexon, Mitch Surman and Tully St John are among those being joined by iconic doyens of the discipline, Bob McTavish and Hayden Kenny – Noosa’s original surfer.
The Noosa Festival of Surfing is, at its heart, an event for the people, and for the greater good that we all wish for. The plastic-free, sustainably-oriented event continually strives to reduce its footprint and support those businesses and organisations – from Noosa World Surfing Reserve and Plastic-Free Noosa to Pottery for the Planet and Pleasant State – striving to make a difference.
In 2022, international aid organisation SurfAid will take the spotlight. Inimitable surf journalist Nick Carroll is to host a very special evening with longstanding festival friend, Layne Beachley and Rip Curl’s first-ever female CEO in its 50-plus-year history, Brooke Farris.
The evening highlights something that has become abundantly clear and warmly welcomed to the festival, the rise of women’s surfing, with a live auction raising funds for an exceptional cause.
On the topic of entertaining evenings with altruistic causes, big-wave surfer and man bereft of all sense of self-preservation, Mark Mathews, will be presenting his groundbreaking keynote, Life Beyond Fear. This remarkable presentation has been numerously celebrated, reflecting upon the rewards beyond fear and the benefit of managing our relationship with it, as seen through the personal journey of someone who has stared down the average person’s lifetime allowance of fear to come back from the brink.
With the familiar week-long celebration of surfing taking place at First Point, the welcome return of a contingent of international entrants and the camaraderie and kinship that thrive annually at the Noosa Festival of Surfing, 2022 is lining up like perfect waves to the horizon for one of its best years ever.
Noosa Festival of Surfing
5-13 March 2022
2022 Festival Highlights
FRIDAY 4 MARCH, 4-8pm: SurfAid Opening Night
Beach Bar, Noosa Main Beach.
Charity event hosted by Nick Carrol with special guests Layne Beachley and the first ever female CEO of a major surf brand (Ripcurl) Brooke Farris.
SATURDAY 5 MARCH, 2.30pm: VetShopAustralia Surfing Dogs
First Point, Noosa Main Beach.
WEDNESDAY 9 MARCH, 7-9pm: Night at the Museum
Noosa Surfing Museum, 3 Hilton Terrace Noosaville.
Vissla’s night at the museum with shapers of today and yesteryear including Thomas Bexon, Mitch Surman, Stuart Campbell, Tully St John, Bob McTavish and Hayden Kenny.
FRIDAY 11 MARCH, 8-10pm: Mark Mathews ‘Life Beyond Fear’
The J Theatre Noosaville.