Port Macquarie is again preparing for a two-week surfing extravaganza when it hosts the 2012 Australian Surf Festival supported by Essential Energy from August 11-25.
More than 500 surfers from throughout Australia will compete in the event across five disciplines and 34 titles.
Officially launched last week, the event will feature national titles up for grabs in Longboard, Open Surf Masters, Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP), Alaia and Single Fin.
This year will also see the introduction of a new SUP racing division involving a Technical Race between 4-8km and a 20km marathon.
New South Wales Minister for Tourism and Major Events, George Souris said he was proud to see the Australian Surf Festival launch in Port Macquarie, as one of many regional events on the NSW Events Calendar.
Member for Port Macquarie, Leslie Williams said the Australian Surf Festival was a great attraction for the area.
“With its stunning surf beaches on the NSW coastline, Port Macquarie is a fitting destination for the Australian Surf Festival and its celebration of surfing culture,” Ms Williams said.
“I know visitors will enjoy all the Festival and the Port Macquarie Hastings area has to offer in and out of the water.”
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council Business Services Manager Rebecca Olsen said the event would provide a tremendous boost for tourism in the area.
“We are excited to showcase our beautiful coastline and look forward to witnessing some strong competition during the two-week event in August.
“The event provides a significant boost to the region’s tourism industry and we are grateful for your presence in our community,” Ms Olsen said.
Surfing Australia CEO Andrew Stark said the Australian Surf Festival was steeped in tradition and the highlight for Australia’s best amateur surfers.
“It is the jewel in the crown for Australia’s leading amateur surfers and we’re expecting two weeks of the highest quality surfing.”
The main base for the event will be Town Beach which is located in the heart of Port Macquarie, however the event is mobile with numerous beach break options available between Port Macquarie and North Haven (20 minutes drive south of Port Macquarie CBD) including Flynns Beach, Lighthouse Beach, Rainbow Beach at Bonny Hills and Grants Beach at North Haven.
To further kick-start the event, leading motorcycle company Harley-Davidson has signed on as a support sponsor.
The company will have a presence on-beach, while offering competitors and spectators a chance to win prizes through their online Garage Party and Boot Camp competitions. Competitors might even have the chance to take a test ride.
A hotline will be operating for the festival which will feature a recorded message updated at 7:00am each morning with the confirmed daily schedule and contest venue.
The Australian Surf Festival will be webcast LIVE via the event website which will feature live scores, heat by heat results, photo gallery and event news at www.australiansurffestival.com.