Burleigh Boardriders once again will be bringing back the laidback times of the 1970s, with the 17th annual Burleigh Boardriders Single Fin Festival from January 9 to 11. This year will be a special year for the Single Fin Classic, as it is also Burleigh Boardriders 50th year as a boardriders club, their first event held in 1965, the Single Fin Classic a bit like Burleigh Boardriders fun little grommet!
Friday will see the Charity Luncheon at Burleigh Bears Leagues Club, with the Saturday and Sunday action turns to Burleigh Point for the Single Fin Classic. The annual Charity Luncheon will be hosted by funny-man and former jockey Allan ‘Robbo’ Robinson, with special guest speakers. The first is Bill Bohlman, Gold Coast legend, and the man who ran the Gold Coast’s biggest surfing events of the 1970’s, The Stubbies Classic. Other speakers will include former Australian, Queensland, and Broncos captain, Darryn Lockyer, and Manly legend Steve “The Beaver” Menzies. Other speakers are yet to be confirmed, but WCT surfers, current and former World Champions are on the guest list. With the guest speakers, huge sporting memorabilia auction, and tickets $120, including meal and refreshments, there are only limited seats available.
The Single Fin Classic (January 10 & 11 – 2015) is a unique surfing contest, where all surfers compete on single fin surfboards made before 1985, which means that every board that is surfed in the event is an antique, and a unique part of surfing history.
It is like a surfing museum over the contest, with all the boards there for one and all to see, and thousands gather on Burleigh Point to watch the event. The event has a special spirit to it as well, six man heats, and a really cool attitude from all the competitors in the water, where hassling is at a minimum, and cheering on your fellow competitor as they surf a wave is mandatory.
Surfers who have competed in this event is like a who’s who of surfing; Gary Elkerton, Rabbit Bartholomew, Mick Fanning, Luke Egan, Mark Occhilupo, Cheyne Horan, Matt Hoy, Jack Freestone, just to name a few. With Billabong one of the major sponsors, usually up to half a dozen of their team surf in the event, so you can expect to see some of the old legends and top up and comers competing in the event.
The 2013 Champion, Dave Rastovich, embodies the spirit of the single fin: cool, relaxed, and surfing with that bit of style and class. Dave grew up surfing at Burleigh Point before embarking on his journey of being a soul surfer, and championing many other environmental causes. ‘It’s such a wonderful thing to be able to come down and pull out these old relics and have a lot of fun on the point,’ says Dave.
There also is an under-18 division, and the young grommets really impress on-lookers with their style and poise on boards more twice their age.
The whole thing is about surfing for surfing’s sake, remembering lost friends, and for the Burleigh Boardriders it is their major fundraiser for the year. The Single Fin Classic is the first event of 2015, and Burleigh Point will once again be crowded with people from the Gold Coast and beyond to check out classic surfing on classic surfboards.
The level of surfing at the event is incredible. Not only will there be pros and semi-pros competing, they will have to deal with a field of local Burleigh rippers, and red-hot surfers from the Gold Coast and beyond. It is a prestigious title to win; you only win a single fin surfboard, and the glory – it is all about the glory, the title and the fun. Last years champion Tim Hyland won the event for the second time in 2014 taking down former WCT surfers Jay “Bottle” Thompson and Nathan Hedge on the way. Tim is no stranger to single fin glory winning it last as a 17 year old grommet, the local Burleigh Boardrider a favourite with the crowd, and on his backhand showed all and sundry how it was done.
The members of Burleigh Boardriders know how important the event is to the club for many reasons, none more so than current Burleigh Boardriders Club president James Lewis.
‘The Burleigh Single Fin Classic is an event that gives the young and old members of the club an opportunity to relive a piece of surfing history,’ says Lewis. ‘The point at Burleigh was the pinnacle for professional surfing in Queensland throughout the single fin era of the 70s and early 80s. This event gives both the locals (and quite a few professional surfers) a chance to ride Burleigh as the legends of our sport did all those years ago.
‘The format promotes the sharing of waves and boards, leading to a relaxed, carefree vibe not usually felt at competitive surf contests.
‘The great times that people experience here can be seen in the steady growth of the event with crowds matching that of any world qualifying series event, with every person on the beach not wanting to miss a moment of the action in the water. Going from strength to strength it is a weekend not to be missed down at the point. No matter what the conditions everyone has a great weekend.’
With money raised from the event, Burleigh Boardriders donate some to local charities, and the balance goes back into Burleigh Boardriders Junior Development program.
So come and check out the 2014 Burleigh Boardriders Single Fin Classic. Sit on the natural amphitheatre that is Burleigh Point, or Jelergull as the ancients from the Koomberri tribe named it from there dreaming stories. Just the vibe, the feeling, and the excellent level of surfing is worth pulling up a piece of grass or rock on the headland and just soaking it all in.
Entry to the contest (January 10 & 11) is open to all surfers, $70 for opens and $20 for juniors, enter via www.surfingqueensland.com and go to the events page. There are limited numbers and the field always fills early. Tickets to the luncheon are $120 and available from Burleigh Bears League Club from next week.
For further information
Media – Terry “Tappa” Teece
President Burleigh Heads Boardriders Club