Surfest is a series of professional surfing competitions which run from early February to mid-March at Merewether Beach, in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. The largest surfing event in the southern hemisphere gathers over 700 professional athletes from over 25 countries competing fiercely for the main prize.
Surfest was founded in 1985 by the Newcastle City Council, and at that time was the surfing competition with the largest prize money in the world. The event ran for thirteen days at Merewether Beach, Newcastle Beach, and South Newcastle Beach. Since 2009 Surfest has been held in the format of a festival with live music, entertainment, vendors, and lots of various activities for everyone.
The festival features the Burton Automotive Pro (WSL Men’s Qualifying Series 6000 point competition). Women compete in the Holmes Civil Developments Women’s Pro (WSL Women’s QS 6000 point competition). There is also Lake Mac City Pro Junior (WSL QS 1000 point event) for young athletes.
Merewether Beach, where the prestigious male and female champions compete, was crowned as a national surfing reserve in 2009. Surfest draws thousands of surfers because north-easterly swells fanned by north-west winds provide excellent conditions for athletes to test and prove their skills and abilities.