Growing to legendary status, the second weekend of January is now well known as the time for the Burleigh Boardriders Single Fin Festival.
The natural amphitheatre that is Burleigh Heads is lined with thousands of people checking surfing, not pro-surfing but awesome 1970s style surfing on surfboards more than 35 years old, and just how they used to be with one single fin.
The 19th Burleigh Boardriders Single Fin Festival will start this Friday and is the first surfing event of the year. Surfers will be competing on vintage single fin boards which must have been made no later than 1981 – some of the boards surfed are of late 1960s and early 70s vintage.
Over the years surfers have travelled from Western Australia, Victoria, NSW, all the way up the east coast of Australia to the Sunshine Coast to compete in this iconic event.
The Festival begins at the Burleigh Bears Leagues Club, with the Annual Charity Luncheon. Nathan ‘Carnage’ Corbett, internationally renowned Mutai boxer, will be joined by rugby union and rugby league international Michael O’Connor, along with legendary surfer, shaper, and skipper Tony ‘Doris’ Eltherington, best known for his rescue of the South African surfer who was found after nearly two days in the ocean. Alan ‘Robo’ Robinson, former jockey and TV personality will be the MC. Most of the local pro surfers attend and there will be a sports memorabilia auction and comedy on the day.
Saturday and Sunday will see the Burleigh Boardriders Single Fin Classic take place at the iconic Burleigh Heads Point break where some of the best surfers take on Burleigh on the old boards.
Surfers who have competed in the event include Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Jack Freestone, Bede Durbidge, Dave Rastovich, Wayne Rabbit Bartholomew, Gary Elkerton, musician Ash Grunwald, Jockey Damien Oliver, footballer Andrew Johns, celebrity Chef Peter Evans, and a host of others.
There is a field of hot locals to contend with. Last year Burleigh boardrider Thomas Woods took victory for the second time and 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.
It is a carnival atmosphere, great surfing, displays of surf-craft from a bygone era, and live music with the Hanlon Brothers Saturday and TripleJ Favourites ‘Babe Rainbow’ feature special guest Dave Rastovich on Burleigh Point on Sunday. This is family-friendly fun for young and old.
To enter the event go to the Surfing Queensland website: https://www.surfingaustralia.com/states/qld/events/2016-burleigh-boardriders-single-fin-festival-presented-by-billabong.