Noosa’s First Point was abuzz last week, for the 27th annual Laguna Real Estate Noosa Festival of Surfing. Kicking off on Saturday 10 March, the eight day festival opening with a traditional ho’okupu ceremony, with the yearly paddle-out being dedicated to the late, great surfing pioneer and Noosa local, Bill Wallace, who sadly passed away earlier in the year.

The First Nation Gubbi Gubbi people welcomed all, offering inspiring words and demonstrating the traditional dance of the region’s indigenous people. Saturday began with beachside yoga, courtesy of Grill’d Noosa and Noosa Beach Yoga, and VetShop Australia’s SUP with Your Pup workshop also took place at Noosa Dog Beach. Competition commenced for the Garage Handplanes Body Bash, with the inclusion of an all-ladies division for the first time.

The women’s Garage Handplanes Body Bash finals saw Californian Kate Maxfield take first place, while in the men’s David Ford was unstoppable. Doug ‘Claw’ Warbrick, co-founder of Rip Curl, hosted the inaugural Warbrick Surfing Foundation event for men over 75 years of age and women over 55. The VetShop Australia Surfing Dog Championship took place, with Chris de Aboitiz, the dog whisperer himself, leading the paddle-out.

Sunday kicked off with the longboards, and first into the water were the teams for the Bendigo Bank Family Challenge. British father and son, Chris and Connor Griffiths, Californians Kaimana and Michael Takayamas and Chris Cox and Matt Schuler progressed to the final of this event. Next was the Classic Malibu Teams Challenge, which saw teams of four compete to catch one top wave each in 30 minutes.

The young MS Surfboards team and the Surf Relik team progressed to the finals where they will be joined by defending champions Ray White Noosa, two teams from Thomas Surfboards, and New South Wales team, Dawgs. The Underground Surf Old Mal division sees surfers using boards that pre-date 1968. Jared Mell, Matt Cuddihy, Matt Chojnacki, Gus O’Malley and Jack Norton progressed to the semi-final in this event. Capping off the weekend was the Laguna Real Estate‘s VIP party on the Saturday night. The best view in Noosa was combined with superb live music from bands Gold Member and The Swamps, with Sunday night’s entertainment being provided by Noosa’s youngest rockers The Myths.

Readers may also be interested in this article on the NevHouse debut.