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ASB MAGAZINE: The 2019 Byron Bay Surf Festival was a festival to remember. Offering five epic days of world class waves thanks to Cyclone Oma, cranking live tunes, inspirational surfy flicks, juicy art exhibitions, enviro chats and Q&A panels with a few of surfing’s most influential competitors. Despite extreme weather, a dedicated and happy crowd were stoked on the annual celebration of surf culture.

The opening event, Tom Carroll’s Photo Exhibition, Wednesday 20 February, at McTavish Factory saw over 300 locals and surfing enthusiasts absorb Carroll’s insightful images from the 1980’s surfing era and a film screening of Nat Geo’s Salt in the Blood.

Thursday morning the first of Cyclone Oma’s swell began to push into the Bay, building the excitement for the weekend ahead! In the arvo, winners of the festival’s Photo Competition were announced at McTavish Outpost.

Following, the Surf Legends Lounge kicked off around the corner at the Byron Community Centre, a Q&A with surf royalty, Mark Occhilupo, Taylor Steele and Dick Hoole.

Friday Main Beach was cranking, hollow barrels had arrived just in time for the weekend’s festivities. The morning began with a pop of colour for Fluro Friday at Wategos Beach. Iridescent colour against grey clouds, a group gathered adorned in fluro to listen to live tunes and talk through beating mental health one wave at a time! Following, a packed-out crowd at the Beach Hotel listened to a Q&A with Lisa Andersen, Vahine Fierro, Cait Miers and Kelia Moniz for the Women’s Panel event. Host Liv Phyland chatted success, motivation, challenges, social media, the future of the industry and more.

In the afternoon the BBSF Art Show was held at Lone Goat Gallery, an exhibition of exceptional local and international talent. This year’s artist line-up included; Nanda Ormond, Ted Grambeau, Luke Day, Filippa Edghill, James McMillan, Jaleesa Vincent, Kentharo Yoshida and Duncan Macfarlane.

As the sun set at the Beach Hotel, an inspired crowd gathered to watch Lisa Andersen’s film Trouble, the powerful story of a female surfing pioneer and her rise to become 4 x World Champ. The film was premiered by GoPro. To celebrate the beginning of the festival the Beach Hotel put on live tunes by Drop Legs and Tones & I. Cold beers in hand surf fest goers were gearing up for a fantastic weekend.

With extreme weather warnings, the weekend’s events experienced shifts in locations and times. Saturday live talks were held from the Surf Club with chats by Small Giant’s Dan Fitzgerald, BBSF’s community partne

Waves 4 Water and Atmosea. Talks spoke about conscious investment, W4W’s OZ Program, female empowerment and self-love. The perfect wet weather activity, surfy flicks were held at the Community Centre. Films Beyond Limitus, Momentum Generation and Overcoming were all well received. At night PLTS and Sunrose rocked out at The Beach Hotel, groovy and loud the night’s excitement could not be tarnished by wild weather!

The waves and BBSF events continued to attract surf enthusiasts from all over. Post surf, Sunday everyone headed to the Beach Hotel to wash off a wonderful five days. Stone & Wood’s cold beers flowed, as Seaside, The Vanns and Waax took to the stage for smashing live sets. 2019 was an incredible Byron Bay Surf Festival with mother nature providing an iconic swell to make it a true “surf” festival plus exciting events to keep everybody frothing and connected! Bring on 2020.

Founded in 2010, the annual Byron Bay Surf Festival is a non -competitive event with a focus on surf culture, highlighting creativity, innovation, environment and sustainability. The 5 – day event is a fusion of ‘Surf Culture Now’. With over 10 free and ticketed events, become immersed in surf sessions, surf shaping, design, art, music, film, fashion and yoga, while having fun and caring for the environment. The Byron Bay Surf Festival is proudly an “Ocean Friendly” event aiming to set a clear path towards reducing environmental and community impacts of surfing contests. Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do.


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