Surfest, Newcastle Set to celebrate 30th Anniversary in February 2015

Thirty candles will be on the celebratory cake for Surfest Newcastle next February when 12 surfing events will hit the water over a three-week period. The icing on the cake will be the Burton Automotive Pro – a QS6000 ASP competition at Merewether beach from February 16-22. The Burton Automotive Pro will see the world's best male surfers vying for the prestigious Mark Richards trophy and a share of a whopping $US150,000 prize pool on offer.

The QS1000 Burton Automotive Women's Classic will be held at Merewether beach from February 18-22. Both the Burton Automotive Pro and Burton Automotive Women's Classic will be webcast live to a global audience.

The Hunter Business Boardriders Pro Junior will see the nation's best young surfers competing alongside their international peers from February 13-15.

Beyond the three ASP-rated events, Surfest has scheduled surfing competitions across three local government areas (LGA) – Port Stephens, Newcastle and Lake Macquarie – that are home to the best beaches and surf breaks in the Hunter region.

The State Member for Charlestown and the Mayor of the City of Lake Macquarie Council Jodie Harrison, Councillor Nuatali Nelmes from Newcastle City Council and the Deputy Lord Mayor of Port Stephens Steve Tucker each fired the cannons at historic Fort Scratchley under the watchful eye of number one gunner Doug McCloy to celebrate Surfest reaching 30 years.

On hand was the newly elected Tim Crakanthorp, who undertook his first official function as the Member for Newcastle at the Surfest celebration following his maiden speech in the NSW parliament yesterday.

Also present was event patron, four-time world surfing champion and the “unofficial mayor of Merewether” Mark Richards. MR was accompanied by the last local to win one of Surfest's major events, Merewether's Philippa Anderson.

The first event on the Surfest 2015 calendar is the Wildcard Trials that will be held at Birubi beach in Port Stephens on February 1.

“Kim Burton has been backing Surfest for 11 years now. That's more than a third of Surfest's existence and an incredibly long sponsorship relationship in any contemporary sport,” Surfest chief Warren Smith said.

General Manager of Burton Automotive Group Kim Burton said his company was again proud to be supporting an event that provides locals and visitors with great surfing action.

“This will be Maitland Toyota's 11th year sponsoring Surfest and in 2015 we remain as proud to support the event as we were back in 2004 because of what the event does for surfing and for the Hunter,” Mr Burton said. “Surfest is a festival that provides opportunities for women and junior surfers and the Burton Automotive Group wanted to see that inclusiveness continue in the event's anniversary year.”

General Manager of ASP Australasia, Dane Jordan, said pro-surfing's governing body was thrilled to see one of the longest running events on the Australian pro-surfing tour celebrate its 30th anniversary.

"With its impressive history, list of winners and the prestige of having four-time ASP World Champion Mark Richards as event patron, the public can expect to see Australia's and the world's best surfers in action alongside the next crop of up-and-coming superstars."

Scheduled Events for the 30th Anniversary Surfest · 1 Feb: Wildcard Trials: Birubi Point (Port Stephens LGA) · 6-8 Feb: ORICA Surfboard Club Team Challenge: Stockton beach · 11-12 Feb: Wandiyali ATSI Indigenous Classic: Merewether beach · 13-15 Feb: Hunter Business Boardriders Pro Junior: Merewether beach · 13-15 Feb: Sanbah Cadet Cup presented by Dalton Lawyers: South Bar beach · 14-15 Feb: Lake Macquarie Longboard Classic: Redhead beach (City of Lake Macquarie LGA) · 16-22 Feb: Burton Automotive Women's Classic: Merewether beach · 18-22 Feb: Burton Automotive Pro: Merewether beach · 19-20 Feb: Burton Automotive High School Team Challenge: South Bar beach · 20 Feb: Surf Aid Cup: Dixon Park beach · 22 Feb Visit NSW Airshow: Merewether beach · 22 Feb Tooheys Extra Dry Expression Session: Merewether beach

For the mathematicians, Surfest is celebrating its 30th year in 2015 because there was no event in 1991 due to the world surfing tour being rescheduled following the introduction of a two tiered professional circuit.