Byron Bay Surf Festival popularity surges
SURFERS from around the world have travelled to Byron Bay to show off their skills in the water at the first annual Wategos Wizards competition.
The surfing competition is a new addition to the Byron Bay Surf Festival, celebrating its tenth year showcasing the best of surfing culture.
Wategos Wizards contest director Sean McKeown said despite the wild weather in the days leading up to the festival, competitors had been having a dream run in the water.
"We've been very fortunate that we've got good waves that have come through. It's still very contestable out there for the competitors," Mr McKeown said.
"We've got some of the top competitors from around the world being able to showcase here at Wategos is just exceptionally awesome.
"We've got a heap of Brazilians. We've got competitors from France, The Philippines, Mauritius and the United States.
"They're coming from around the world."
Mr McKeown said the addition of the surfing competition to the festival was a proving successful.
"It's the first time we've run the Wategos Wizards at the Byron Bay Surf Festival and to have the support is really good," he said.
"As Byron Bay Surf Festival has developed, they see that there's a lot of people who want to have a bit of competition.
"It doesn't have to be fierce, but you want to have the best competitors you can.
"The festival itself has such a big reputation through the arts and surfers are fairly creative out on the waves.
"They're creating what they do. Whether it's with music, or paintings or with surf - it's just a natural fit."
Sunday's contest program features the freestyle surf competition from 7am to 5pm at Wategos Beach.
"They all go out in mass, catch heaps of waves and then judge it themselves," Mr McKeown said.
"Even though it's a competition, it's not man eat man. It's a case of having fun."
For more information about the Byron Bay Surf Festival, visit www.byronbaysurffestival.com.au.