Co-director of The Byron Bay Surf Festival Mike Jahn, in Byron Bay with a McTavish Tracker surfboard that will be given away this weekend to the winner of the Surf Shorts film competition.
Co-director of The Byron Bay Surf Festival Mike Jahn, in Byron Bay with a McTavish Tracker surfboard that will be given away this weekend to the winner of the Surf Shorts film competition. Patrick Gorbunovs

Surf art, films and music

SURFING may be a multi-billion dollar industry these days, but a festival that kicks off today will celebrate the cultural and artistic waves generated by the iconic surfing lifestyle.

The three-day second annual Byron Bay Surf Festival will feature surf-themed art, films and music with participants from around the world washing up on Byron's shores to mark the global bond existing between surfers.

The only thing you won't find on the festival line-up is a surfing competition and that's to keep the spotlight on the more underground aspects of surfing culture, says festival director Mike Jahn.

The opening ceremony will be staged tonight at 8pm at the Byron Bay Brewing Company, presided over by the Gold Coast's three-times world surfing champion Wayne 'Rabbit' Bartholomew and Byron legendary surf-board shaper, Bob McTavish.

Wayne and Bob, along with compere Phil Jarratt, an author who has written many books on the surfing culture, will talk about the evolution of surfers from social outcasts to part of a multi-million dollar sport and lifestyle business.

Bob said the dominant culture of the Northern Rivers had been "soul-surfing", so the festival's direction was fitting.

"The festival, by choosing to go that route, is way ahead, instead of being a hard, contest situation, which is limited," he said.

A surf art and photography exhibition will also be staged on Friday night showcasing works from Australia, Hawaii, New York, Japan and Ger-many.

The five finalists of the Surf Shorts film competition will be screened on Saturday night at the Byron Bay Community Centre before the Australian film premiere of Taylor Steele's new surf movie, This Time Tomorrow.

The winner of the short film competition, which attracted 30 entries from around the world, will also be announced.

Surf-themed markets will be staged at Railway Park on Saturday with more than 35 surf artisans selling wares.

Show, Swap and Surf Meet'

'Show, Swap and Surf Meet' will be staged at Wategos Beach on Sunday, 8am-3pm. Swap your board, whether it be new or vintage, mal or shortboard, for another with no money changing hands. It will provide a rare opportunity to mingle and talk surf tech with a crew of featured national and international surfboard shapers.



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