No Oma but plenty of swell for the Noosa Festival
The organisers of the Noosa Festival of Surfing exchanged more than a few concerned looks as the tent and grandstands were being erected this year. While the Meccano set was being clicked together, the fruits of Tropical Cyclone Oma were hypnotically peeling down First Point like a John Witzig photo come to life. “Best it’s been since ‘87,” said one wizened salt as he squinted at the lines. “Nup,” disagreed his mate. “It’s the best it’s been.”
Everyone could agree that TC Oma was very special indeed, but would there be anything left for the Festival? As it happened, there was no need for pre-festival nerves, because just as the swell from Oma evaporated a long, stable tradewind pattern developed with overhead easterly swell and south-east winds. Under those conditions, all roads, as they say, lead to Noosa.
Now in its 28th year, the Noosa Festival of Surfing is one of the most keenly anticipated events on the surfing calendar. With thirteen surfing divisions, plus specialty events - teams, dog surfing, finless etc - it’s the only event where categories can fill up six months before the first hooter. It’d be even bigger if we were allowed!
As it is the Festival runs for eight consecutive hours over five days. This year you may have seen the World Surf League logo on the promotional material, but the Festival was still its own creature. At the completion of the Festival the WSL kicked off their newly minted Longboard Tour at Noosa - though the swell actually had run dry by that stage.
The early rounds of surfers had no such reason to complain. If anything, First Point was a touch too big and breaking wide of the bank during the midday low tides. An ever-chipper Tom Wegener worked the microphone as a quick turnover of categories ensured a constant procession up the point. It was equal parts entertaining and relaxing - thanks to the blazing sun and Vonu Pure on ice.
As the Festival motored towards the pointy end of the competition the surf maintained, carbon copying itself day after day, providing an equal opportunity for every competitor to perform - or just enjoy forty minutes at First Point with compatriots.
The established names progressed through the draw, the lads and lasses that are here each year, and they were joined by a smattering of new names, specifically those in the Under 15s. The young surfers who’ll we’ll be hearing about for many years to come.
Category winner’s of the Noosa Festival of Surfing:
Logger Pro Kaniela Stewart
Lady Logger Sierra Lerback
Mens Open Kai Sallas
Women’s Open Avalon Gall
Boy’s U15 Tommy Coleman
Girl’s U15 Kelis Kaleopaa
Men’s U18 Kaniela Stewart
Women’s U18 Avalon Gall
Men’s 45+ Hayden Swan
Women’s 35-50 Kristy Quirk
Men’s 55+ Reid Johnson
Women’s 50+ Marnie Morat
Men’s 65+ Bruce Channon
Old Mal Harrison Roach
Teams Thomas Surfboards