CYCLONE SWELLS: The Byron Bay Surf Festival cancelled some events due to Cyclone Oma but the majority of actives attracted good crowds.
CYCLONE SWELLS: The Byron Bay Surf Festival cancelled some events due to Cyclone Oma but the majority of actives attracted good crowds. Amber Gibson

Surf festival rivals cyclonic swells

UPDATE: 9am: AFTER close consideration of the BOM forecast and extreme weather conditions predicted for tomorrow, the Byron Bay Surf Festival has cancelled Sunday Freestyle & Stoke Sessions at Wategos Beach. This decision has not been made lightly, as we understand the efforts and time already committed by everyone involved.

A screening of Lisa Andersen's Trouble will be on at 3pm at the Beach Hotel, and live music from 5 - 9 pm will continue as planned also held at the Beach Hotel.

ORIGINAL: THE 8th annual Byron Bay Surf festival forged on, packing out surf-inspired events despite cyclonic weather conditions.

While the BBSF had no choice but to surrender to heavy swells, rain and strong winds caused by Tropical Cyclone Oma that forced outdoor events to be cancelled, event coordinator Bec Taylor said the unpredictable conditions didn't stop people flooding into events indoors.

"We have been making the the best of a tough situation but it is still going well.” she said.

"Lots of our events have been packed out”.

Although the Surf Art Market was unable to proceed, Friday's art show at Lone Goat gallery entertained 200 guests during the evening and the Sunset Cinema which was relocated to the Beach Hotel, hosted a full house.

"We are a surf festival, we expect that the weather will do what it wants and we are lucky that it has brought a bit of swell in for the surfers,” Ms Taylor said.

"With all the marquees it just wreaks havoc down there, so we had to make that tough call yesterday which was a shame but we do what we can,” she said.

But the cyclonic swells did spotlight the thriving surfing community and the importance of celebrating surf culture.

"I think surf culture is coming more to the forefront these days,” she said,

"Surf artists and surf musicians are becoming more popular as the whole environmental movement comes to the foreground of a wider audience mind.”.

Although all beaches were closed in Byron shire on Saturday, organisers had their 'fingers crossed' that the main Freestyle & Stroke surf event could go ahead.

"If the beaches are closed tomorrow then we can't get insurance to continue, if they are open it will be in conjunction with the lifeguards and the surf club to make sure it is safe for everyone.”



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