Participants of the Wood Sniffers event, Day 4 at the Byron Bay Surf Festival.
Participants of the Wood Sniffers event, Day 4 at the Byron Bay Surf Festival. Samantha Poate

Sun's up for last day of the Surf Festival

EVEN in the undesirable weather the Byron Bay Surf Festival was still a crowd pleaser the weekend.

The four days attracted a lot of locals and visitors to the beaches, all trying to get a taste of the surf culture in the Bay.

Founder and Creative Director of the Byron Bay Surf Festival James McMillan said while he was disappointed with the weather, the event was still a success.

"(Saturday) was hard because we had rain almost all day,” Mr McMillan said.

"I was quite disappointed actually, just for the vendors that have put in so much work in the activation of all their stalls and tipi's.”

"Some people spent a lot of money and a lot of time doing something really creative to present to the public.”

The festival's major sponsors, the Beach Hotel and Stone & Wood, put a smile on all the vendors faces on Saturday when they supplied them with a free lunch.

"When I saw the rain was still around, our major sponsor the Beach Hotel, I chatted to the owner and said can we put on a free lunch for 100 people,” Mr McMillan said.

"It was a big ask but he came back and said yeah we could and then Stone & Wood, our other sponsor, said we will throw in a keg of beer.”

"All of a sudden I had a lunch and beer to offer every vendor there and everyone was super stoked.”

The sun came out just in time for the surfing events on day four, which also saw a new category introduced, which Mr McMillan described as very Byron Bay appropriate.

"It's not a surf competition... it's surf sessions and there's seven different categories, from body surfing all the way down to the final event of the day which is called the Ying and Yang,” he said.

"The Ying and Yang is a new event I came up with which is like two people sharing one wave to the beach, because Byron is pretty crowded and if people learn to share waves it is going to be easier for everyone.”

Winners of the seven surfing events are determined by a vote from fellow participants.

"Basically the way we get a winner from each event, when the surfers come in, they head up to registration tent and they vote for the person they saw in the water having the most fun and relating to their surf craft the best and connecting with the waves,” Mr McMillan said.

Each year the event is getting better, as events are polished and its popularity grows.

"More people are definitely hearing about it and more people want to come and check out all the stuff we do,” Mr McMillan said.

"The aim isn't to get bigger, it is just to have an awesome festival that represents this niche of surf culture.”

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