KITES and wave sailors dominated the 38th annual Merimbula Classic over the weekend.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
Howling southerly winds provided strong conditions for the four-day surfing festival at Merimbula’s Main Beach.
Officials said there were about 150 entrants – a slight drop on previous – when stormy conditions kept a few shy on Thursday.
However, event director John Smythe said the Stand Up Paddle (SUP) boarders enjoyed some pleasant conditions on Thursday despite the rains, while howling winds picked up for the kites and wave sailors later into the week.
“A few storms rained on us, but we just chilled around the barbecue until they passed,” Smythe said with a laugh.
“The SUPs were out with some good conditions in the early morning, and then the winds picked up and the kites were out long into the afternoon.”
“There was plenty of swell and reasonable breezes had them going hard from the early morning.”
With strong winds continuing over the weekend, a vast majority of surfers chose to make the best of the winds with around 80 kites out over the weekend and a further 30 wave sailors taking to the water.
Smythe said many of the entrants bring a variety of kit with them, including regular boards and the new hydrofoil types, but it was those taking advantage of the wind who got the most out of it.
Entrant Wayne Bowness said on social media that “every day was testing”, but said it was the “best four days and every day was great”.
Every day was testing, but it was the best four days- Wayne Bowness
The foils did make an appearance with Warwick Lee and Beau Pilgrim both surfing Naish foils and leading the SUP and kiting respectively.
They were just two among the many winners who took home some of the top prizes with entrants from the juniors right through to surf veterans.
Smythe said the kites had a thrilling time on the water with the surfers able to reach about 30-40km/h on the water over the weekend.
And the wave sailors were also going hell for leather with the strong southerlies providing them excellent runs through the breakers.
However, the wind did have an impact on numbers for SUP and regular boarding with entries in the Saturday SUP relay down with just four teams taking part, but officials said it was a huge effort for those teams did take part – particularly on the upwind legs.
Paddlers started in the lake before heading out to Bar Beach then legs played between the Bar and the Main Beach staging ground.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.