It was a week full of sun, sea and surf when the Australian Surfing Open rolled into Manly. As one of Australia’s largest surf competitions, it saw Manly Beach packed with thousands of spectators eager to get a glimpse of pro surfers Mick Fanning, Stephanie Gilmore, Cassie Moore and Sally Fitzgibbons.
Running from 7-15 February, I visited on the last day of competition when the finals were held and winners announced.
Arriving at 9.30am, Manly was already buzzing with locals and tourists sitting at Hurley’s marquee/ skate bowl area. A massive screen was on display televising the event and there was photographers everywhere.
What I love about surf competitions is that they’re free and bring together all types of spectators. And, this was no different with families, couples (young and old) and teenagers all cheering on the surfers.
I was lucky to get a spot near the competitor lounge so I had close views of the surfers running to and back up from the beach after their heat. From here it was also great to see the surfers being greeted and congratulated by the young fans.
I enjoyed both the semi and final heats – it was great to see local girl, Laura Enever take out the women’s event and for the men’s title, Californian surfer, Kolohe Andino.
Also there was even a shark sighting that the surfers had to contest with, but it wasn’t the shark that had the Internet going into a frenzy. Instead it was a controversial post-heat interview that occurred.
After taking out his heat, Kolohe Andino was interviewed by roving Channel [V] presenter, Carissa Walford who did a live cross back to the station’s studio where fellow host Danny Clayton (boyfriend of Zoe Cross) picked-up the interview. And, let’s just say Danny wasn’t too happy with Kolohe after discovering the pro-surfer was texting his girlfriend. See what went down ‘live’ on Australian TV.
Warning: strong language present.
Overall the Australian Surfing Open presented by Hurley was a fun event full of quality surfing, good atmosphere and on-and-off camera entertainment.
Have you attended a surf competition? Tell us about your experience.