It is now something of legend. The second weekend of January, surfing enthusiasts get ready for the best weekend of their year. The natural amphitheatre that is Burleigh Heads is lined with thousands of people checking out surfing (not pro-surfing) on surfboards more than 35 years old, with one single fin, how it used to be.
The 19th Burleigh Boardriders Single Fin Festival will be held from 8 to 10 January 2016, the first surfing event of the 2016 year. Surfers will be competing on antique single fin boards which need to have been made no later than 1981. Some of the vintage boards surfed are actually from the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The Festival commences on Friday with the Annual Charity Luncheon. Nathan “Carnage” Corbett – international reknown Muay Thai boxer – is the first guest speaker confirmed. TV personality Alan “Robbo” Robinson will be the MC, and other guest speakers will be announced shortly.
Saturday and Sunday will see the Burleigh Boardriders Single Fin Classic take place at the iconic Burleigh Heads point break where thousands of spectators will line the point to watch some of the best surfers take on Burleigh on the old boards. Surfers who have competed in the event in the past include Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Jack Freestone, Dave Rastovich, Wayne Rabbit Bartholomew, Gary Elkerton, musician Ash Grunwald, jockey Daimen Oliver, footballer Andrew Johns, celebrity Chef Peter Evans, and a host of others.
There is a field of locals to contend with. In the 2014 contest, Burleigh Boardrider Thomas Woods took victory for the second time. The top 100 ranked surfer will be back this year to defend his title.
There will be 96 competitors. There are no cash prizes, just the glory of being the champion, and a classic Dick Van Straalen single fin made especially for the event winner.
There is also an under 18 division, where the young grommets will be surfing boards that are more than twice or in some cases 3 times their age!
It is a carnival atmosphere, with displays of surfcraft from a bygone era and live music on Burleigh Point on the Sunday. Mellow but exciting, a retro vibe with a modern twist. Best head down to Burleigh on the 9th and 10th of January to check it out! The competition starts around 8am each day, and runs through to mid afternoon. Tickets to Friday’s charity luncheon are available from Burleigh Bears Rugby League club at $120 including meals and refreshments, and it is $70 to enter the event via the Surfing Queensland Website. The Burleigh boys will have a spare board for you to surf, but you’d better get in quickly as the junior division is full already.